13th January 2017
At Our Next Meeting
1. Wild And Wicked Youth / 2. King Henry / 3. Skippin' Barfit Through The Heather / 4. The Outlaw Of The Hill / 5. Henry Lee / 6. Wondrous Love / 7. Hind Horn / 8. Handsome Molly / 9. Our Captain Calls / 10. Johnny My Man / 11. Demon Lover / 12. The Blantyre Explosion / 13. I'd Rather Be Tending My Sheep
The Furrow Collective delves into an obscure world of balladry at its darkest and quirkiest. At Our Next Meeting brings gems from the traditional repertoires of four of the finest folk musicians from both sides of the English/Scottish border. Daringly exposed, unaffected voices are accompanied by harp, guitar, viola, concertina, banjo, fiddle and musical saw. With a bold, improvisatory approach, their focus is to capture the raw edges and fleeting magic of narrative song, with storytelling at the centre. Emily Portman and Alasdair Roberts are both celebrated for their original, folklore-influenced songwriting and have collaborated on several previous albums. Lucy Farrell and Rachel Newton are bewitching solo artists, sought-after session players and long-time members of The Emily Portman Trio. Brooding gallows tales of hedonistic exploits are embodied in the opening duet ‘Wild And Wicked Youth’ and ‘The Outlaw Of The Hill’. Epic ballads of disguise, trickery and true love are interpreted with finesse in ‘Hind Horn’ and ‘King Henry’, both set against lush instrumental backdrops with rousing refrains. The atmospheric soundscapes of ‘Skippin’ Barfit…’, ‘Henry Lee’, ‘Johnny my Man’ and ‘Demon Lover’ display a refined, minimalist intensity and gripping vocal delivery. The Furrow Collective masterfully portray heartbreak and desolation in ‘The Blantyre Explosion’ and an inspired interweaving of two parallel tales in ‘Handsome Molly’ and ‘Our Captain Calls’. While each vocalist has their own accomplished style, their harmonies shine out in folk hymn ‘Wondrous Love’ and the disarming closing track ‘I’d Rather Be Tending My Sheep’. Warmly accessible yet raw and uncompromising, At Our Next Meeting shows a breadth of Scottish and English folk traditions with four artists at the height of their powers.