A round-up of EPs and singles that have come our way

SINGLES BAR 10 Oct 2015‘Gladdie’ is the new single from AMY GODDARD and a taster for her forthcoming second album. It is inspired by letters sent to her great-grandmother during the Great War by a young soldier, one of four brothers none of whom came home from the trenches. The song features Amy’s bell-like acoustic guitar and a chorus drenched with strings, some courtesy of Naomi Hitchings. The melody is a waltz with a slight period feel but avoids being a pastiche and her lyrics convey the matter-of-factness of some of the correspondence as well as Gladdie’s anticipation as she waits for the next letter to arrive – until the last one is in a different handwriting. The song is a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest and more than worth its place.

SINGLES BAR 10 Oct 2015The title track of May Day 1916, the new EP from THE CELIA BRYCE BAND, also involves letters, this time from a wife to her husband serving at the front and full of the minutiae of everyday life – something for a man away from home to cling on to. The second track is an instrumental, ‘Corporal Morris’, a lament with a decidedly Scottish feel – there’s more than a little ‘Farewell To Tarwathie’ in there. Both tracks have a suitably military feel with brass from 3 G. Dean Owens’ ‘Shine Like The Road’ is an anthemic ballad and ‘Small Print’ is a bluesy boogie that changes the mood completely. All proceeds from ‘May Day 1916’ will go to the Royal British Legion.

SINGLES BAR 10 Oct 2015BOREAS is the bringer of winter, an appropriate name for a band that links Scotland and Norway. In advance of their debut album, Ahoy Hoy, the quartet releases a single ‘North Sea Holes’ – a suitably chilly subject – originally written by Ewan MacColl for Singing The Fishing. I’m not sure if Lori Watson or Rachel Newton takes the lead vocal line but Rachel’s harp is the dominant instrument over a fiddle drone from Britt Pernille Frøholm and Irene Tillung’s accordion ebbing and flowing like the sea itself until both elbow their way to the front for an instrumental break. The second track is ‘Bjornen/Facing The Bear (Radio Edit)’, a pair of tunes which begin with some wonderfully doomy bass notes.

SINGLES BAR 10 Oct 2015Trouble is the third EP from Hampshire singer-songwriter JOE BOOLEY. The title track benefits from a glossy production job and lots of atmospheric echo but Joe throttles back for the other tracks. ‘What Did You Expect’ is beautifully expressed teenage melancholia with a single repeated guitar note emphasising the sometimes sinister lyrics. In ‘The One Thing’ Joe talks about how he “will leave this God-forsaken place”. I know his home town and he’s not wrong. Joe is a clever song-writer and if you like your misery unadulterated this is for you.

SINGLES BAR 10 Oct 2015OCTOBER GOLD follow their second album, Bridge Of The Sun, with an eponymous EP. The Montreal duo of Kit Soden (acoustic guitar and voice) and Aliza Thibodeau (violin, piano and voice) have simplified things somewhat, adding only bass, cello, French horn and percussion but their sound is still big thanks to Aliza’s multi-layered violin. Although they write their own material their lyrics are derived from the nineteenth century poetry of Archibald Lampman and Thomas Moore, both of whom can be seen in stained glass in Ottowa’s public library. The songs are literary and complex and often melodically surprising – the last lines of ‘Altitude’ for example build from nowhere into an attention-grabbing climax..

Boreas release MacColl song ahead of debut album

Boreas release MacColl song ahead of debut album
Photograph by Louise Bichan

‘North Sea Holes’ is the single taken from Boreas’ forthcoming debut album Ahoy Hoy. The song was written by Ewan MacColl and the band are glad to have already received high praise for their version from Ewan’s son Calum MacColl (‘Very lovely indeed…beautiful! I love it. Very atmospheric, like the harmonic journey.).

An enchanting musical union between Scotland and Norway, Boreas began as a collaboration between Lori Watson from the Scottish Borders and Britt Pernille Frøholm from Hornindal in Sogn og Fjordane. Lori and Britt are joined by award winning accordionist Irene Tillung from Voss and Rachel Newton from Edinburgh.

Britt Pernille Frøholm (Hardanger/fiddle) has released several albums and frequently works across genres including solo traditional music on Hardanger fiddle (National Champion 2014), folk bands, electroacoustic compositions, collaboration with contemporary composers and free-improvising big band.

Lori Watson (fiddle, voice) is the first doctor of Artistic Research in Scottish Music having completed her PhD in contemporary Traditional music practice. She has released several critically acclaimed albums under her own name and with trio Rule of Three. Her songwriting and compositions explore tradition and innovation, and she is in demand as an educator in Higher Education, and youth music.

Irene Tillung (accordion) is a versatile musician with a background in both classical/contemporary and traditional music. She has released several award winning albums with her groups Tindra, Maar and Frøholm/Tillung. Collaborating with Polish trio Kroke, she has toured widely following the release of a live album in 2010. Irene has composed several commissioned works, one of them for Førde Folk Music Festival in 2009.

Rachel Newton (Scottish harp, voice, electroharp) is a singer and harpist, regularly touring with her own trio, The Shee, The Furrow Collective and the Emily Portman Trio. Rachel has also performed with Karine Polwart, Blue Rose Code and The Elizabethan Session among many others. Her solo albums The Shadowside (2012) and Changeling (2014) earned her much critical acclaim including nominations for Album of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards.

Together, Boreas have a passion for new and experimental forms of traditional music creating a unique expression based on Norwegian and Scottish folk music. Boreas seek to emphasize old traditions and shared musical aspects, while exploring the spaces between their different yet connected cultures. Spanning the North Sea has shaped their debut album Ahoy Hoy and the single from the album North Sea Holes. In this recording the band have created something both warm and sparse, shadowy and glistening, simple and intricate.

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