‘Hard Ground’ from The Rachel Hamer Band - a fine first album(February 24, 2017)
The Newcastle University folk degree course has consistently proved a catalyst for outstanding folk music, musicians and bands. One of the latest examples is The Rachel Hamer Band and their album ‘Hard Ground’. A prime example of traditional and contemporary folk lovingly crafted and delivered by a young band ready to interpret what they hear, add their own style and create something that attracts and engages ... start to finish.
The completeness of any album is oft-judged by the empathy that flows between the band members as well as the content, Rachel and the band have both. There’s obvious synergy between them, which makes this an album of intimacy from Rachel’s rich vocals, to the musicianship of Graeme Armstrong, Grace Smith and Sam Partridge. They deliver excellent takes on the works of Jean Ritchie with ‘West Virginia’, ‘The Digging Song’ from Jim Molyneux and Ewan MacColl’s ‘School Days Over’. They give the tradition an outing with ‘What A Voice’ and ‘Gyspy Laddie’ plus one of their originals, Rachel Hamer’s ‘Bevan Boys’.
Taken as a whole, ‘Hard Ground’ from The Rachel Hamer Band is a fine first album. And for those that love it, and I suspect there will be more than a few, the wait for the second one will be with anticipation.
Review: Charlie Elland