On March 10th One Little Independent are proud to release the high-concept debut album from the brand-new collaboration between three of UK folk’s most unique and prestigious voices; Marry Waterson, Lisa Knapp and Nathaniel Mann. Blackletter Garland by Hack-Poets Guild boasts twelve fascinating interpretations and original compositions that tell intricate tales of birth, love, conflict and death, with all the imagination of the folklore from which they’re based.
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and BBC Folk Award Winner Lisa Knapp brings her renowned expressive originality to the first single release off the album, ‘Daring Highwayman’, eschewing any allusions to grandeur Lisa delivers a disarming, brazen almost-spoken vocal to animate this pervasive story.
“The idea of the highwayman as a sort of Robin Hood character has persisted for centuries, pushing itself out of ballad sheets and right into popular culture which is really intriguing. I thought it would be an interesting place to start and I think the narrative sits perfectly with the audacious glam-rock treatment here incited by producer Gerry and drummer Laurence Hunt.”
Inspired by historic broadside ballads, the trio rejuvenate and reinvent these stories, bringing them vividly to life for a new generation. Following an invite to the Bodleian Library by Sound UK Arts, the disposable song sheets (that would’ve once sold for pence and were the forerunners of modern news media) gave a rare insight into the past whilst striking a chord with themes still relevant today. Celebrated film composer and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Diver helped in their exploration as a producer, and in adding fresh ideas to these past texts.
Across the LP anecdotal, descriptive yarns are spun to a backdrop of atmospheric strings, rustic instrumentation and elegant vocal harmonies used precisely to communicate the victims as easily as they do the villains. The result is a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable balance between the traditional and contemporary.
On Blackletter Garland Hack-Poets Guild combine a wealth of knowledge and history, on an album that deeply conveys the passion, research, and authenticity that the writers, poets and their stories deserve.
Artists’ website: https://www.facebook.com/hackpoetsguild
‘Daring Highwayman’ – official video:
17th March – Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds
18th March – More Music, Morecambe
19th March – Social, Hull
23rd March – Cecil Sharp House, London
24th March – North Wall, Oxford (OCM)
25th March – Folk House, Bristol
26th March – Exeter, Phoenix