I heard about this group and was intrigued because I have greatly enjoyed the work of Lucy Farrell and Emily Portman in various projects. However a whole album of traditional ballads seemed a little daunting and I thought the result might be rather heavy so I put off buying. I’m so glad I eventually took the plunge, each singer has a distinctive style and the arrangements are absolutely brilliant. Subtle and intricate, the instruments and voices weave together to create something utterly compelling. There is a sort of fragility to songs and arrangements but the overall effect is wonderful. There is so much to explore in these songs and it is the sort of CD that slowly reveals more and more of its charms with repeated plays. Essential listening if you enjoy traditional songs with powerful stories.
All 4 of the artists here are well known in the folk field, having individually produced critically acclaimed albums over the last couple of years in their own rights. Here, however, they come together to cast their collective magic spell on a wide range of traditional ballads. I was fortunate enough to see them live in concert at the Met in Bury at the start of their nationwide tour back in February 2014 . Each of the artists leads on a couple of songs, but there is great empathy between the players. this is no flash folk supergroup, they are mutually supportive in a quiet understated way, and seeing them live they were feeling their way performing together in public. They gave a fine performance on the night, and this is a great collaborative effort that deserves careful listening to. The singing and playing is all of a high standard, the arrangements tend to be relatively sparSe, calm, cool and collected. One of the finest folk album releases of the last year.