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Reviews Albums: Folk

The latest from Joshua Burnell, Clair Hastings and Kim Richards

Joshua Burnell
The Road to Horn Fair
(Mister Valley Records)

★★★★

JOSHUA BURNELL is fast becoming one of the rising young voices on the British folk scene, with he and his six-piece band having made an impression at some of the smaller folk festivals in 2018 –and they’re about to embark on their first headline tour.

The Road to Horn Fair, his third album, consists mainly of arrangements of traditional songs and his voice is well suited to classics like Raggle Taggle Gypsies, while there are impressive instrumentals throughout on bouzouki and both acoustic and electric guitar.

The medieval feel to the album’s cover artwork is reflected in songs such as The Knight and the Shepherdess, inviting comparisons with the early albums of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention — definitely a young artist worth watching.

Claire Hastings
Those Who Roam
(Luckenbooth Records)

★★★★★

THIS second album by former BBC Young Traditional Musician of the year Claire Hastings is a combination of traditional and original songs with an underlying theme of travelling.

Hastings’s vocal range works well on lively traditional folk songs like Jack the Sailor and Seven Gypsies. But the album also brings into focus her abilities as a songwriter with her own compositions Noble Helen of Cluden, based on a character in a Walter Scott novel, and Fair Weather Beggar, a catchy song about an Edinburgh busker who prefers to sing when the sun is shining.

Ending with the traditional number Ten Thousand Miles, this album demonstrates Hastings’s skills and versatility as an artist. Whether singing songs centuries old or new songs which are still carrying on the folk tradition, this is a hugely enjoyable album.

More please.

Kim Richards
Leaves That Fly
(Self-released)

★★★

Born in Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands, Kim Richards has produced this debut album but has long had an interest in singing, making her first recording at seven years of age.

Leaves That Fly consists mainly of songs written by Richards herself, with a feel for the tradition related to Scottish folk tales and history.

As well as singing, Richards plays keyboards and ukulele and she’s backed by other musicians on guitar, fiddle and mandolin.

The album’s title evokes the passing of time and from the opening song First Love Becomes a Lad’s Hate to the final Footprints in the Snow, each track represents a journey through life and relationships.

While some work better than others, this is an impressive debut album from an artist with a fine voice and poetic writing skills.

 

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