Delyth & Angharad (DnA)

Album cover is a painting of the Delyth and Angharad in subdued tones.

We were lucky to see this mother and daughter duo play at a local folk festival recently. Delyth & Angharad write and play absolutely beautiful Welsh folk music.  There’s an excellent review of their latest album Llinyn Arian (Silver thread) here.

Here they are playing Viva Cariad and an old favourite from my West Wales childhood Sosban Fach

The artwork by Carys Evans is gorgeous too. Love the Gwen John influence.

 

Recent Listening

Album cover shows the band dancing in a field against a low sun wearing richly patterned robes

First Aid Kit, The Lion’s Roar (2012)

First Aid Kit have been my band of 2018 and I think this is my favourite of their albums. It might be the most folk-influenced.

Top track, Wolf

Album cover shows an abstract painting in black, blues and purples

Kristin Hersh, Hips & Makers (1994)

Kristin Hersh’s first solo album has this incredible, raw energy. Stripped down to voice, acoustic guitar and cello, the songs have a purity and sharpness that goes right through you. Painful but cathartic.

Top tracks, Your Ghost and The Letter

Album cover is a head and shoulder photograph of Brandi Carlile in yello sepia tones. She is wearing a wide-brimmed hat and looking directly into the camera

Brandi Carlile, The Firewatcher’s Daughter (2015)

I went off Brandi Carlile for a while, but I seem to be back into her again after listening to this album. Big tunes, great vocals, full of heart.

Top track, The Eye

Album cover is an abstract photographic image with faded typeset lyrics

Thea Gilmore, Songs from the Gutter (2002)

Songs from the Gutter is more of a collection of odds and ends than a coherent album, but it contains some of my favourite tracks.

Top tracks, I Dreamed I Saw Saint Augustine and December in New York 

 

Album cover is a yellow-toned photograph of the artist standing outside on a street. She is facing the camera and wearing a black top with thin straps

Corinne Bailey Rae, Corinne Bailey Rae (2006)

Lovely, warm, summary album, one that I put on to cheer myself up.

Top track, Put Your Records On

Album cover is a photograph of Martha Wainwright's face under a pinkish read filter

Martha Wainwright, Martha Wainwright (2005)

This is one of those albums which feels like an artist finally getting to release all the work they’ve had stored up for ages. It’s a beautiful burst of energy and that song about her Dad ….

Top Track, Bloody Motherfucking Asshole

Album cover is a cartoon image if a yellow octopus wearing a crown against a purple background with stars

Veruca Salt, Eight Arms to Hold You (1997)

I listened to this for the first time in ages and I’d forgotten how good it is, just a mighty album full of drums and huge riffs. I love it all.

Top tracks: Volcano Girls  and Shutterbug 

Album cover is a vintage black and white photograph of people fighting or having fun (I'm not sure!)

Sleater Kinney, All Hands on the Bad One (2000)

My second favourite from their earlier albums (my fave is Dig Me Out). Loud, in-your-face and a lot of fun.

Top track, You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun

Soundtrack to the Spring

Until recently, I’d have said that The Red Shoes was my least favourite Kate Bush album. I hadn’t listened to it for years. Then Lily and Big Stripey Lie  scrobbled on my last.fm account and I completely changed my mind. Maybe The Red Shoes resonates more as you get older. It’s a complex, mature woman’s album, exploring themes of self-determination, resilience (Rubberband Girl), creativity (The Red Shoes), and spirituality.

Well I said, “Lily, oh Lily I don’t feel safe
I feel that life has blown a great big hole
Through me” And she said
“Child, you must protect yourself
You can protect yourself
I’ll show you how with fire”

My partner got me listening to Cris Williamson’s classic of feminist, lesbian and women’s music, The Changer and the Changed (1975). Williamson has such a beautiful, soaring voice. ‘Waterfall’ (0.00) gives me chills and you can just hear them playing ‘Sweet Woman’ (12.51) for the slow dance at the end of the lesbian disco in the 1970s. You might like to compare the original ‘Shooting Star’ (21:15) with the Butchies cover. Williamson has developed a more solidly country sound in recent years. Fringe (2007) is awesome too.

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Soundtrack to the End of Winter

The last couple of months have been quite challenging, as well as cold and dark, so I’ve been looking for music to accompany cups of tea and introspection.

I love Joan Baez’s Gone from Danger (1997). All except one of the songs were written by younger artists (Dar Williams, Sinead Lohan) and Baez brings a rich maturity to the material. As you’d expect, there’s a political undercurrent, with songs about immigration, child abuse and environmental issues, but it’s all comforting somehow.  The collector’s edition features a live bonus CD of performances in which Baez is joined by some of the songwriters.

I’ve never really been into Dar Williams. This may be a British thing, but the extreme earnestness of her lyrics makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.  However, I’m getting beyond that and Promised Land (2008) is growing on me.  Apparently this is one of her more poppy albums and frowned on by some fans of her earlier, more acoustic sound. I have no opinion on that at this time.

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