Sustainable prose
Thoughts upon a mid-fifties birthday....

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Today, mythic music from the moors and shores of Devon...

Above: "Lady of the Sea" by Seth Lakeman, who lives across the moor near Tavistock, and writes songs based on the history and legends of Devon and Cornwall. This is an older song (from his third album, Freedom Fields, 2006), which is one of my favorites.

Below: "Old Pine" by Ben Howard, a nice lad from Totnes who's been getting a lot of attention these days. I like the lyrics to this song in particular, which is from his 2012 album Every Kingdom.

Above: "Blackbird," a beautiful song written by Andy Letcher for his "darkly crafted folk" band, Telling the Bees. The band was based in Oxfordshire for many years, but Andy now lives in Chagford. I highly recommend their two albums (Untie the Wind and An English Arcanum), both with cover art by Rima Staines. A third album is in production.

Below: "The Happy Bus"  by Mad Dog Mcrea, a wonderfully energetic (and, yes, mad)  folk/gypsy/bluegrass band from Plymouth, a city on Devon's south coast. They've releasted three albums so far: Away with the Fairies, Sophisticated Hat Manouvres, and The Whirling Dervish.

 Above: Katy Marchant's excellent medieval music group Daughters of Elvin, based in nearby South Zeal, performing for The Bagpie Society last year. Follow this link to hear more of their gorgeous music, from the albums Galdrbok and The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Below, a rougher recording but a delightful song: "The Franklin Nights" by The Kestor String Band, a "purple moorgrass" band from Chagford & Moretonhampstead, performing at Moreton Music Day this past summer. Here's what they say about the piece: "Our banjo player wrote the lyrics to this one based on an old Devonshire legend (with a modern twist) and we based the tune on Steve Gillette’s wonderful instrumental version of an even older song, the Erlking.  The introductory tune is  Irish: the Maids of Mitchelstown, and the devilish finale is the Glasgow Reel, sometimes known as Tam Lin." The Kestor String Band is at work on their first album.

And last, just to bring it all full circle...

"Cruel River" by the long-running Devon folk band Show of Hands (Steve Knightly, Phil Beer, & Miranda Sykes),  joined by Seth Lakeman on hammered dulcimer. Steve and Phil explain the history of the song (inspired by the folklore of Dartmoor's River Dart), recorded for their 13th studio album Wake the Union.

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