Thames Delta Rec. V.A. : Horses & Hangings, Homicide & Hellfire
-songs and tunes from the Leigh Folk Festival 2010- (UK,2010)*°°°°
This is a compilation of bands and individuals which were invited at the latest Leigh folk festival. From what I can hear on this compilation I can divide these contributions somewhat into a couple of categories. Firstly we have the more creative minded or heartfelt contributions, of which Nancy Wallace very much stands out, while keeping roots in folk tradition you can feel the need of expression is from deeper within. Her convicted-man song appeals to any listener very much, for its voice, song and interpretation. These are the kind of artists I like very much. Another nice voice is Lucy Farell, here with an acapella song interpretation. From the bands I mostly like The Owl service. Wonderful to hear is how they interpreted a Gwydion folk song called “Spring Strathspey”. I just read in the acid archives book how the writer of the book only appreciates Gwydion like one day in the year, but I think for a folk tradition the artist has something real to offer. Other good contributions are from Cath & Phil Tyler and also Jackie Oates with Alasdair Roberts which still show something of real people contributing to the folk genre as interpreters. Woodburner with its simple picking sound and also Megson both sound a bit more independent to the folk tradition. Perhaps the only folk-rock related band is Drohne, performing an entertaining Breton folk song with hurdy gurdy. Then we have a few different traditions, some of which are interesting, like the She'Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble, performing a song with Turkish/Greek associations. Horses Brawl interprets a fourteenth century Norfolk song. From the Leigh based vocal only group The Honeygales I don't think their sound has developed well enough. Then like on every folk festival we also have the busker-like songwriters with roots in folk more than in anything else, an idea I always found hopelessly conservative. Phil Burdett seems to be appreciated very much on the festival but I can't feel how it can express something beyond this for the world. More independent in sound to this is Phillious Williams contribution. This leads to the last category, the traditionalists. Kiti Theobald's acapella folk voice comes from a folk tradition that was kept alive in local places. Amongst the other traditions is Fargo, a western swing band. The few left over bands I prefer not to mention. The choice on the album shows the range of where people or at least the organizers of the festival associate folk with, in the sort of folk-eclectic way it is stretched towards other genres. For me the real people and creative bands always will stand out completely. The edges of traditions at times are even more conservative and less creative than the folk tradition itself. Absolute winners for me are Nancy Wallace and The Owl Service.