To The Awe is the bold new album from acclaimed Scottish singer, harpist and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Musician of the Year, Rachel Newton. The songs on the album place women at the centre of their narrative, at various stages of life and often marking a coming of age and an acquisition of power. The record is a tribute to the women who have inspired Rachel and is influenced by her recent work around the representation of women in the music industry.
Rachel draws on poems and ballads that are hundreds of years old, working them into her contemporary compositional style to create a rich sound that is ambitious, original and unique. Title track ‘To The Awe’ is based on the poem The Rock Of Cader Idris by Felicia Hemans. The poem tells of the Welsh tradition that whoever survives a night spent at the rock will wake with new creative inspirations.
A return to the band line up sees Rachel Newton working again with drummer/co-producer Mattie Foulds, violinist/violist Lauren MacColl, horn player Mikey Owers and Sarah Hayes on backing vocals. The album benefits from a strong musical relationship, developed as a result of the group’s live performance work over the years since recording her SAY (Scottish Album of the Year) Award Shortlisted album Here’s My Heart Come Take It.
Composed, recorded and mixed in the lockdown of April/May 2020, Rachel and her collaborators have achieved something extraordinary with To The Awe. She recalls;
‘It was a challenging album to make, but ultimately a welcome focus and a vital connection with others in such strange and uncertain times. When I listen to this album, I imagine us all in a room together. I am ever grateful for the intuition, trust and musicality from my bandmates.’
In addition to her solo work, Rachel is a skilled collaborator and founder member of The Shee, The Furrow Collective and The Lost Words: Spell Songs. She has worked across various platforms including theatre and storytelling, previously winning a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland (CATS).
Co-founder of The Bit Collective, a group focusing on equality and diversity in folk and traditional music, Rachel has organised various campaigns and events, including the Trad. Reclaimed: Women in Folk festival at Kings Place, London in 2019.
To The Awe with be released on Rachel’s own label Shadowside Records on the 6th November 2020. Distribution by Hudson Records.
Artist’s website: www.rachelnewtonmusic.com
We make no apology for featuring this. ‘Jolene’ – live at home: