Paul Mosley and the Red Meat Orchestra – The Butcher
A couple of my favourite record labels are based in the East Midlands. Being an East Midlander myself this makes me pretty happy. Anyway I digress just a tad. The two labels I allude to are Reveal Records, originally based in Derby and now in Glossop in the glorious Peak District and run by Tom Rose and the other is Folkwit Records based in Nottingham and run by Nick Butcher. Two things further to say about Folkwit Records. One is that I always need to be very careful when I refer to the label on the show or things could easily go horribly wrong! The second is that I first discovered the label when a fine Nottingham-based singer songwriter called Jezz Hall put out his third album on the label. I’d been a fan of Jezz’s for a while and he played a live session on the show quite a few years back now when HFM Radio was in it’s original based on the Rockingham Road industrial estate on the edge of Market Harborough. Anyway, the album he released on Folkwit was the still excellent, and highly recommended Silhoutte Man.
After this major digression, back to the album in hand, Paul Mosley and the Red Meat Orchestra’s The Butcher. The album has been rightly described as a ‘folk opera’, it boasts 20 tracks and took a couple of years plus to make. It also has an impressive cast of musicians. In addition to Hartlepool-born Paul who formerly fronted the band Moses, there are contributions from Jamie Lawson,Esther Dee, Carolyn Mark, Darren Allford, Catherine Earnshaw and Josienne Clarke. In fact there are over twenty musicians involved in the album hailing from 6 different countries. The result is a truly stunning album which has been described by Laurel Canyon Music as “.. Part ghost story, part redemption tale, part love story……one epic folk opera!’” This is another album you definitely will want to add to your collection.
Case Lang Veirs – Case Lang Veirs
The first time I read about the collaboration between Neko Case, kd Lang and Laura Veirs I knew I couldn’t wait to hear the album. I’ve enjoyed the music of all three solo for years now and I was intrigued as to what they may sound like when they got together. The resultant self-titled album was everything I hoped for and more.
The record came about like so. Several years ago k.d. lang sent an email to Neko Case and Laura Veirs on a whim saying “I think we should make a record together.” Though the three musicians were just acquaintances “Laura and I both responded immediately,” recalls Case. “There was no question.”
They take it in turns to write songs with 14 tracks on the album and take a share on lead vocals. Laura Veir’s husband Tucker Martine who really has become the go-to producer over the last 5 years or so took on production duties in Portland, Oregon. Lots of great songs to choose from on this record. Here’s one of my favourites below. I’d also urge you to check out the song about the acclaimed Judee Sill.
Kris Drever – If wishes were horses
Kris Drever has been incredibly busy with as one third of the folk supergroup Lau, alongside Aidan O’Rourke and Martin Green. The latter has a wonderful new album out called Flit by the way, but that’s another blog! Oh and Lau’s last album was produced by Tucker Martine. He has also collaborated with the equally busy and in demand Boo Hewerdine on a fine EP called Last Man Standing, well worth checking it out, if you haven’t encountered it so far. So it’s been a while since he’s had the time to record a follow up to his last LP Mark the hard earth, 6 years in fact. It’s been worth the wait as If wishes were horses is a superb album. I’d even go as far as to say it’s my favourite of Kris’ albums.
At the time of writing this I’ve recently seen Kris play at the Jubilee Hall in Market Harborough accompanied by the ace guitar player Ian Carr. Ian’s album Who He? is recommended too. If wishes were horses is truly chock full of quality songs. Many of them are semi-biographical covering the universal, and not so universal, themes of education, politics, sex, love, ennui, self-employment, social migration and Shetland. Kris moved to Shetland before the making of the album.
The title song remains one of my favourites from the album. Kris also happened to play it at his gig in Market Harborough.
Blue Rose Code – And Lo! The bird is on the wing
I first heard Ross Wilson A.K.A. Blue Rose Code at the time of the release of his North Ten album which by coincidence, given my earlier post, was released on Reveal Records. I’ve been a fan ever since. So And Lo! is album number three from BRC. The LP was recorded at Gran’s House Studio in the Scottish Borders and written between the Shetland Isles and rural Dorset. It features some superb Scottish jazz and folk musicians, Nashville gospel singers The McCrary Sisters, British music legend known for his work with John Martyn, Pentangle and Richard Thompson, amongst others, Danny Thompson and the actor Ewan McGregor.
Of the new record Ross says “It’s an album for music fans and musicians, a challenging record. I’m passionate about that fusion of folk and jazz and where it intersects with songwriting. … this … album [is].. just as I wished it to be.”
If you’ve yet to discover the music of Blue Rose Code this album is a damn good starting point. And then work your way backwards!