‘Shake The Chains’ – Various Artists - incredibly powerful, soul-moving

(August 09, 2017)

Opposition, dissent, campaign, struggle... words built around the need to create a ‘voice’ and be heard. The voices of common people roused to make a stand and be heard. Part of that ‘hearing’ lies in the hands of artists and songwriters. Across the years, some writers that speak out have given much, both personally and professionally to create and deliver their message. Timeless yet Shake The Chains album covervibrant, the ‘protest song’ is of an age, yet of many ages ... songs that have always forged a link between folk music, social and political commentary and ordinary people.

‘Shake The Chains’ continues in that vein with an album of new protest songs sitting alongside a couple of ‘classics’, and through those representations strives to ensure that people of this age and the future, have a ‘voice’. The artists featured on the project are Nancy Kerr, Hannah Martin, Findlay Napier, Greg Russell and Tim Yates ... and the result is an incredibly powerful, soul-moving compilation. Opening with Nancy Kerr’s tribute to the brave women of Greenham Common with ‘Through The Trees’, the inspired ‘EGA’ from Greg Russell follows, before Findlay Napier makes the phrase ‘There’s more to building ships than...’ into a powerful indictment of closing shipyards with ‘Building Ships’ and Hannah Martin brings the plight of the immigrant into sharp focus with ‘Yarl’s Wood’. The traumatic ‘Poison Apples’ by Nancy Kerr reflects through the plight of Alan Turin with outrage at what ‘the establishment’ can do, before Greg Russell’s ‘Bunch Next Door’ and ‘Side By Side’ from Tim Yates examine the word ‘neighbours’ what it means sharing the same street.

With as much presence and resistance, dedication and commitment as protest songs have always possessed, ‘Shake The Chains’ is worthy of a place in any music collection. The album releases on 15 September, with tours in 2018. ‘Shake the Chains’ is touring commission from Folk by the Oak, with support from Arts Council England, Help Musicians, and Folk Alliance ... the objective to explore the role songs have played and continue to play in social change, resistance and protest.


Review: Tim Carroll

Click here to return to the Reviews page