Odd, unconventional melodies, poetic, sophisticated song-writing and the bewitching clarity of Kent-born, Canada-based Lucy Farrell’s voice are made elegant with sparse, careful accompaniment on tenor guitar and occasionally viola, carving out a unique niche for an artist at the forefront of contemporary English folk music.
Finding an international audience among artists like Julia Jacklin, Emily Portman, The Weather Station, The Unthanks and Eliza Carthy, the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winner Lucy Farrell is not only awarded as a renowned composer and singer, but also as viola/fiddle/tenor guitar-player. Her work as a band member and collaborator with such artists and projects as Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band; Gluepot; Modern Fairies; The Furrow Collective; Carthy, Oates, Farrell & Young; and her duo work with Andrew Waite and Jonny Kearney, respectively has meant releasing a collection of her distinctive solo work has had to wait – until now.
Songs from Lucy’s debut solo album, recorded at Wenlock Abbey in Much Wenlock, are scheduled for release through Hudson records from Fall 2021.
In conversation, Lucy – who is deeply funny and self-deprecating alongside her insightful and deliberate songwriting – will talk of wearing her special tweed coat and trousers and taking nips from a hip flask full of Ribena when she saw Richard Thompson in concert as 10th birthday treat – along with her dad and maths teacher, or of how many pints it takes to lubricate the knees to dance with her father’s Morris Troupe; or of playing totem tennis while commentating in an ‘awful Australian accent’ as part of Eliza Carthy’s Wayward Band. There’s something to the ink-stains though – Farrell is also an accomplished visual artist and crafter who will often put down her guitar and pick up a needle and thread. Lucy’s community roots have prompted her to create ‘Hudson Unearthed’ Women’s/Non-Binary Songwriting Sessions in collaboration with Jenny Sturgeon, as well as leading less formal song-writing prompt groups online.
M G Boulter is a songwriter and musician living on the Thames coast in Essex, UK. Serving his apprenticeship in numerous bands in the hotbed of the Southed-on-Sea pub rock scene (the precursors of which were household names such as Procol Harem, Dr Feelgood and Eddie and the Hotrods), M G came to lead, as singer and guitarist, the popular country rock band The Lucky Strikes, who Q Magazine once likened to “The Waterboys on trucker pills”.
Often touted as an ‘artist’s artist’ M G set about releasing his second solo album, With Wolves the Lamb will Lie, in 2016. Produced by Andy Bell the album drew upon the pastoral Sheffield setting where it was recorded to create a sublime mixture of classic singer songwriter material with a rich chamber folk backdrop. The album was picked as one of the top folk albums of the year in it’s end of year round up by The Daily Telegraph and R2 magazine referring to M G as “a weapon’s grade songwriter”.
The success of With Wolves led to M G signing with folk and roots label Hudson Records, which led to the collaborative EP Blood Moon, recorded with Birmingham string quartet, The Froe. The EP was recorded in a Methodist fishermen’s chapel in the old seaside town of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex over just four days. The EP was hailed as a chamber folk masterpiece.
M G’s songwriting creates vignettes of ordinary life often set in the seaside location of his hometown. This writing form is crystallised in his latest work Clifftown, an album based on a fictional town which closely resembles that of Southend-on-Sea. Working again with producer Andy Bell and a host of friends from bands as diverse as Bellowhead and Spritiualised, M G has created an all encompassing personal history of growing up in seaside suburbia which is both affecting and observant.