VELVET & STONE – Velvet & Stone (own label LVID03)

Velvet & StoneFollowing three EPs, Devon duo singer and songwriter Lara Snowdon and violinist Kathryn Tremlett finally release their eponymous debut album, Velvet & Stone one which more than lives up to expectations.

Accompanied by Kev Jackson on guitar, producer Josiah Manning on keys and rhythm section Paddy Blight and Garry Kroll, they explore a realm of dark indie-folk that touches on both traditional and contemporary, poppy, influences. It’s the latter that kicks the album off with ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, not The Waterboys number, but a self-penned (as is all the material) song from their 2016 debut Storms EP on which, accompanied by steady march drum beat and Tremlett’s fiddle drone draws on the area’s fishing tradition and how girlfriend and wives would stare out to sea awaiting their loved ones’ return, some of whom never did.

Another previous release, ‘Oh Boy’ keeps the dark folk colours, but ups the tempo for a drums, violin and guitar driven song of unrequited love that makes effective use of dramatic musical pause and a surging chorus that suggests they’ve spent some time listening to Seth Lakeman. While charting a similar thematic course of rejection, things rein back in slightly for ‘Lay Her Down’ before it starts to build to a doomy, violin-lashed climax with Snowden’s impassioned vocals full of fire and fury.

Co-penned with Roger Styles, underlaid with keyboards and acoustic guitar, over which Tremlett’s violin weaves haunting notes, ‘Breathe’ is of a dreamier persuasion but still finds Snowdon yearning for a love out of reach.

Bubbling with pizzicato violin notes and Manning’s banjuitar, ‘Walls’ is another swelling number tossed on the tides of love resisted, drawing on siege metaphors, she sings “If I come here with my armies and breach the castle walls/Will the bricks and mortar crumble if I could love you more?”.

While that is constructed with traditional folk wattle and daub, ‘By The Water’ builds its love is blind longing and river imagery with a more folk-pop framework, opening with strummed guitar before a pulsing reminiscence of The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ gives way to an infectious, soaring chorus. Whether by coincidence or design, there’s a watery ambience to the keys and violin on the steady rhythmic march of ‘Am I Dreaming?’ the lyrics of which combine both beating wings and undercurrent tugs, maintaining a similar soundscape and the double-tracked vocals of ‘Forget About The Rain’, a keeningly dreamy, pop-inflected number of the sun after the rain relationship metaphor variety. It ends back in traditional style with Tremlett laying down a sprightly West Country folksy fiddle backing to ‘I’ll Dream Of You Tonight’ as, again drawing on images of oceans, waves and shores, it bursts into a lively Morris-like fiddle and drums instrumental romping finale.

Hopefully, Snowdon’s songwriting doesn’t reflect the state of her own romantic life, but even if it does, the duo can rest assured that this hugely confident and impressive album is going to ensure there’s plenty of love out there for them.

Mike Davies

Artists’ website: www.velvetstonemusic.com

‘By The Water’ – officially live:

Velvet & Stone announce their debut album

Velvet & Stone

Velvet & Stone’s highly anticipated debut album is released on August 2nd 2019. The self-titled album is a collection of the band’s songs which they’ve crafted at gigs and festivals since they formed in 2014, and is inspired by the creative partnership between the band’s front women Lara Snowdon and Kathryn Tremlett.

Drawing upon the wild, natural landscapes of their home county of Devon, folk tales, and personal stories of love and loss, the album weaves traditional threads with a fresh and contemporary take on folk, putting the album at the cutting edge of its genre.

Topped and tailed by the band’s more traditional tracks; ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ and ‘I’ll Dream Of You Tonight’; the album takes the listener on a journey rooted in dark indie-folk-rock which comes to prominence on ‘Lay Her Down’, ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘Walls’, through to an insight on unrequited love with folk-pop tunes ‘By The Water’ and ‘Breathe’. Towards the end of the album the band explore their characteristic dreamy soundscapes on ‘Am I Dreaming’ and ‘Forget About The Rain’.

All songs are characterised by the honesty of Lara’s song-writing and vocal, and Kat’s expressive violin. Supported by their band Paddy Blight on bass, Garry Kroll on drums, and Kev Jackson on guitar. The album is produced by Josiah Manning at Momentum Studios, who also plays keys on the album.

Velvet & Stone’s brand of indie folk combines haunting soundscapes with catchy pop hooks and great songs; providing an original and beautiful take on a traditional genre. Crafting their live set with performances at Cambridge Folk Festival, Celtic Connections and Larmer Tree Festivals, they take their audiences on a journey through stunning melodies and soundscapes to foot-stomping folk-rock.

Led by the ethereal combination of Lara Snowdon’s vocals, and Kathryn Tremlett’s violin; Velvet & Stone’s music draws upon personal stories, melancholy tales and rugged landscapes, creating a sound that is difficult to forget. Supported by their band Paddy Blight (double bass), Kev Jackson (guitar) and Garry Kroll (drums), the band weave traditional threads and combine them with folk-revival and contemporary flavours.

Velvet & Stone have been likened to a twenty-first century Fairport Convention, and comparisons drawn with Seth Lakeman, Mumford & Sons, and Laura Marling. Their music has gained plaudits from across the music press, airtime on BBC Radio 2, BBC

Velvet & Stone is the band’s fourth recording. Their discography includes:

The Storm EP (2016)
The Embers EP (2017)
The Live EP (2018)

Artists’ website:  www.velvetstonemusic.com

‘By The Water’ – live in a wood: