Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band - Big Machine, album review


This is a great album, the inherent power of traditional and contemporary folk songs enhanced by Carthy’s personal expertise and that of the band collective, including guest vocalists.

There’s probably a genre to please all hinted somewhere in the album, from rap in You Know Me to funk [well, sort of, in Devil in the Woman], but the folk base – with superb instrumentation – and Carthy’s vocal and fiddle drive it all with a force.

Opener Fade and Fall [Love Not] is its template of large, a pulsing accordion note, Carthy’s fulsome singing, a big band imperiousness of sound, and a chorus. Fourth Jack Warrels [excerpt] / Love Lane is essentially a rousing instrumental, with rising strings and a Ventures guitar riff. Fifth is Hug You Like a Mountain, very much a favourite as favourite Teddy Thompson joins Eliza in the singing. Mrs Dyer and Baby Farmer is made extra plaintive by the wail of fiddle, and then there is the deeply emotive I Wish That the Wars Were All Over, with Damien Dempsey, Carthy singing with the intensity that is entirely her own but also reminds me of the beauty Sam Lee brings vocally to his musical interpretations – the violin and muted trumpet a similar element of clever development.

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