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Findings
Findings
Offered by Story Records
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic folk, 25 Sept. 2016
This review is from: Findings (Audio CD)
This is a beautiful album. Writing, performing, recording are all superb. I particularly like the lovely harmonies, which have always been a strength of Ange Hardy's music but reach new heights here. Her musical partnership with Lukas Drinkwater works brilliantly by broadening the tonal range and his wonderful musicianship complements Hardy's perfectly. One of the finest albums of 2016.


I Dreamt I Was A Bird
I Dreamt I Was A Bird
Price: £13.11

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful - and important, 5 Oct. 2015
This review is from: I Dreamt I Was A Bird (Audio CD)
“I Dreamt I was a Bird” somehow manages to raise the quality of Lucy Ward’s music to new heights. By fusing traditional and contemporary styles, and drawing influence from diverse parts of the musical spectrum, this album expands the boundaries of folk and acoustic music. In so doing, it creates a space that will welcome many people to music that celebrates roots, the value of communication between generations, and the universal truths of life and humanity. By helping to pass this folk tradition of ours to the next generation the album is, in my view, important as well as brilliant.

Throughout, the lyrics are beautifully crafted and the delivery is spine tingling – great exercise for the hairs on your forearms. Sung from the soul, it engages track after track. The opening song, “Summers that we made” is full of imagery and hope. Next, “Ode to Whittaker Brown” is languid and mellow, perfect for late-night listening with a peaty malt or, if you prefer, a smoky Lapsang Souchong tea :) If, like me, you're lucky enough to enjoy such a treat listen carefully to the words cos their message is modern too. “Lord Randall”, with electric guitar accompaniment and punk-edged vocals, is surely as achingly beautiful and melancholy as any acoustic predecessor. Even better, its innovation and freshness will open the folk genre to new audiences and so propagate its enduring tales and values. “Song for Lola” is a lovely enigmatic song that evokes the peace, warmth and contentment that comes with a freewheeling summer’s day. “Connie and Bud” builds to create a magical landscape, which reminds me in tone of Joni Mitchell’s “Paprika Plains”. Finally, through haunting indie-tinged singing and a beautifully-produced open drum sound, “Return to Earth” urges us to look after our planet and be aware that we reap exactly what we sow.

When I first heard “Lion”, as a solo version on YouTube, I found it extremely moving because it highlights the appallingly unfair treatment of the shellshocked, which resonates still with present-day misunderstanding and stigma of mental health. Hearing the CD version, in which Ward’s vocals are underpinned by the power and delicacy of Brighouse and Rastrick brass, gives a real sense of the fear that all involved in Bobby Barker’s death must have felt. That day is brought to life by lyrics that paint a vivid picture from the very first foreboding line. For me, the only other song that conveys fear quite so well is June Tabor’s “Sir Patrick Spens” at the moment when the sailors realise that there’s “a hole, a hole” in their ship’s side and that they are going down. Not only is Ward’s delivery up there with Tabor’s finest, she also wrote the song ! That’s how good this album is. Perhaps time and our children will regard it as great. Right now, “I Dreamt I was a Bird” is in a class of its own and should surely feature prominently in the BBC Folk Awards. Oh, and if you’re not mad on Amazon’s tax and employment record, you can buy it from independent propermusic.com :)


Esteesee
Esteesee
Offered by Story Records
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, beautiful, and a great stress buster !, 28 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Esteesee (Audio CD)
To my shame, I didn't know very much about Coleridge, but this beautiful and innovative album has inspired me to find out more. It is full of gorgeous wall-to-wall harmonies and sharp witty lyrics that tell the tale of the Coleridge Way. Ange Hardy is, in my view, an amazing talent who manages to combine the ability to write and sing wonderfully *and* somehow have sufficient mental capacity brilliantly to operate the loop pedal. To someone like me, who struggles to play the kazoo, this is nothing short of miraculous :)

The artwork, packaging and production are fantastic too - a lot of love and care has gone into this work.

Esteesee has become one of my favorite albums. It's a great way to chill and recharge and strongly recommended.


The Lament of The Black Sheep
The Lament of The Black Sheep
Offered by Story Records
Price: £9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of folk, 15 Sept. 2014
This is a beautiful album which, in my opinion, confirms Ange Hardy within the top flight of British folk artists and singer songwriters. The quality of the singing is outstanding with gorgeous spine-tingling harmonies. Loop recording is used with great skill to create auto harmonies. The songs sparkle with wit and tell profound and remarkable stories - none more so than the haunting "The Lost Soul", which I find both moving and inspiring.

The quality of the album is immediately apparent from the driving "The Bow to the Sailor" tale of the sea's pull and each song is a gem. If you enjoy great writing, singing, lyrics and playing you will love this album from an artist at the top of her game who recently won the Fatea magazine female vocalist of the year (in the face of extremely strong competition). Signed copies of all Ange Hardy's CDs are available from her website (http://www.angehardy.com/shop).


The Hum
The Hum
Price: £12.40

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and insightful, 2 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Hum (Audio CD)
This is a wonderful album for so many reasons. The album's enigmatic title is explained in a word spiral that is revealed when the CD is removed from its container. I found these words and their meaning to be, in their own right, rather lovely and moving. The album itself is staggeringly beautiful and I have increasingly fallen in love with it on each play over the last 2 months. Many of the songs unfailingly send waves of shivers up my spine, such is the quality of the songwriting, singing, musicianship and connection with humanity. The songs explore an extraordinary range of topics with great sensitivity. Who could fail to be moved by the poignancy of, for example, Two Mothers, or be uplifted by Summat's Brewin's celebration of real ale and home brew ? As with O'Hooley and Tidow's previous albums, the lyrics are profound and powerful. The Hum is an album of exceptional beauty by top-notch musicians and writers who understand what life is about and convey their insights brilliantly in song. You can buy it for the same price from their website (ohooleyandtidow.com/shop/) and society benefits from the tax too :-)

P.S. after 10 months or so of listening to this album, I feel compelled to update this review to say just how good the final track "Kitsune" is. Over time, the power and depth of this song have grown on me immeasurably. It is akin to folk opera: massive scale and impact and very, very, original and innovative. If you give this track time, you'll be amply rewarded. It is very special indeed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2015 7:39 AM BST


Bare Foot Folk
Bare Foot Folk
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning album, 30 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Bare Foot Folk (MP3 Download)
This is a superb album, which I really liked the first time I listened and love more and more with each play. Ange Hardy's single-handed song-writing, singing and playing tell heart-felt tales that combine power with spine-tingling beauty. What a talent. The album is characterised by gorgeous harmonies, with songs like "Mother Willow Tree", "Forlorn Land" and, especially, "White as Snow" being my personal favourites from a high-quality set. The artwork is stunning too: a wonderful fractal-like image of roots and branches becoming ever finer, which I hope to show in lectures I give on that topic. Top tip: you can get a signed CD direct from the artist and society benefits from the tax too ;-)


Bright Morning Star
Bright Morning Star

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very essence of Christmas, 27 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bright Morning Star (Audio CD)
What a great combination of Christmas and folk ! The folk influence is clear, which I like a lot, but is also subtle enough to be accepted by my non-folkie family. I'm sure it will be played a lot in our house and car over the next four weeks. It is beautifully sung and arranged and I love it already. It will be a joy to rediscover this album with the Christmas decks for many years, I hope.


Adelphi Has To Fly
Adelphi Has To Fly
Price: £9.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album full of spine-tingling goodness, 21 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Adelphi Has To Fly (Audio CD)
I have enjoyed many great albums over many years, but this is my all-time favourite. The beauty of the music, lyrics and breathtaking delivery is one of life's joys. I've loved this work for the past 12 months and it still makes me laugh and still makes me cry (in the case of "Bricks and Love"). Many of the self-penned songs are enigmatic and work brilliantly as poetry in their own right: in my opinion, they are on a par with Leonard Cohen but with wit and humour too. Lucy's rare combination of immense talent (writing, singing and performing) and personality will, I'm sure, make her a great in her field. But even if she never writes or sings another song, in "Adelphi has to fly" she has already given us a classic album of great beauty and power. I can't wait for the sequel !

Update four years after first hearing this album: today I heard that (amazingly) it's four years since the release of this album and, my, has it stood the test of time. When I first heard "Bricks and Love" four years ago, I thought it was a very sad song. But, to my surprise, during a sad time in my own life, I found the song very comforting because it acknowledges tough things (loss of a loved one) that happen in all of our lives, but which people often find awkward to talk about. Folk music is so important because it addresses all facets of life head on. This album is a wonderful addition to that tradition. It conveys insight, power, and delicacy that would be impressive after 40 years as a writer/performer let alone on a debut album. For these reasons it's still my favourite and wholeheartedly recommended.


Silent June
Silent June
Offered by Englishpostbox
Price: £9.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb: a work of great beauty and depth, 21 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Silent June (Audio CD)
In my opinion no review can adequately describe this sublime album, which is one of my all-time favourites. If you like gorgeous harmonies, piano-playing and exquisite lyrics you'll love this. Just play it and wait for the tingles, tears (born of beauty) and uplift to come - it makes my spirits fly.


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