Woodbine And Ivy Band review,
This review is from: The Woodbine & Ivy Band (Audio CD)
Two songs into my first listen to this album I was thinking Steeleye Span in cowboy hats! A slightly abstract country-rock feel permeates most of the album, often accompanied by a very British brass section evoking band-stands, overcoats and rain. The intriguing prominance of pedal-steel sees The Woodbine And Ivy Band weave further knots into the glorious tangle that is roots music. Furthermore, occasional eye-brow-raising electronics (a particularly nice touch on The Roaming Journeyman) and the warmth of massed backing singers complement the predominant tone of the album. Well-thumbed folk-songs are launched upon subtly strange seas.
Highlights for me include Spencer The Rover with Fay Hield, (which was promoted as a single), Under The Leaves with Elle Osborne (probably the most out-there track, all spooky atmosphere, shivering desolation and quavering vocals)and Derry Gaol with Jackie Oates (her singing is gorgeous and the musical setting is sparse with drones, half-imagined keyboards, harp and brass along with mysterious grating sounds).
There isn't a weak track, the mood moves from familiar and warm to chilling, boisterous to seductive. Jenny McCormick indulges her lover in the one none-tradional track, Gently Johnny from the soundtrack to The Wicker Man (the lyrics altered to the woman's perspective). And then there's Jim Causley... Rollicking is a word I seldom use, but Jim is certainly rollicking on this upbeat number, amongst growling guitars and playful double-entendres.
I was immensely impressed with Folk Police's Oak Ash Thorn, which features several of the same singers, and I have to say this album doesn't have quite such a profound impact upon me, but it is nevertheless a very worthy release and I am keeping a close eye on what Folk Police are releasing, because they are fearless adventurers prepared to take the tradition on strange journeys.