Jim Moray is to release new album Beflean: An Alternative History 2002-2023 on November 24th, 2023, Recorded at iconic Abbey Road Studios, Jim is set to mesmerise fans with the release of his latest album, which presents a fascinating journey through Moray’s musical career, offering re-recordings of twelve tracks that have left an indelible mark on the world of folk music. The album begins in the same way as Jim’s debut EP – 2002’s I Am Jim Moray – with his cut-up voice looped and layered on the traditional Sussex song ‘Lemady’. It progresses through reimagined versions of both the key tracks in Jim’s career such as the BBC Folk Award winning Child ballad ‘Lord Douglas’, and deeper cuts such as 2006’s ‘Dog And Gun’ or ‘Tyne Of Harrow’ from the 2015 collaboration with Sam Carter as False Lights.
Since it was first recorded in 2012, ‘Lord Douglas’ has become a must-learn for fingerstyle guitarists and it is presented here with harmony vocals from Angeline Morrison, and legendary pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole who has played with everyone from Elton John to REM and Bjork. Meanwhile, fan favourite ‘Sounds Of Earth’ is recorded here in an expansive version of the original arrangement taking full advantage of the ambience of Abbey Road.
Bellowhead frontman and fiddle player Jon Boden makes two appearances on the album along with concertina virtuoso Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, first on the obscure Child ballad ‘Hind Etin’ and then on a set of Morris dance tunes from Jim’s childhood home county of Staffordshire which also features bagpipes by early music specialist Jude Rees. Beflean reaches its pinnacle with a captivating reimagining of ‘Lord Bateman,’ a song first tackled on Jim’s ground breaking debut Sweet England in 2003 but heard here in a completely new arrangement stripped right back to the melody sung by 74- year-old farm bailiff Joseph Taylor on wax cylinder in 1906. Marrying ambient electric guitar with haunting Duduk and Ney played by London-based Turkish musician Murat Savaş, it represents a path stretching back to the past and extending into the future for the timeless old songs Jim has spent half a lifetime reimagining. With a career spanning over two decades, Jim Moray has not only enchanted audiences but also left an indelible mark on the folk music landscape. His influence is being felt among a younger generation of folk musicians, especially those who explore the wider canon and ways in which traditional music can be stretched.
Frankie Archer recently spoke about how Moray’s work on Low Culture (2008) blew her mind. “It showed me for the first time what UK folk music could be”. Meanwhile, key influence Nic Jones – who revolutionised British folk music in the 1970s – said in 2012 that his favourite artists were Bob Marley, Radiohead and Jim Moray. Beflean: An Alternative History 2002-2023 is like a stroll through the mind-palace of one of British folk music’s most imaginative artists, with nods to his past and an awareness of the place he has reached two decades later.
Artist’s website www.jimmoray.co.uk