‘The Poacher’s Fate’ - Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp "... full-bodied, close-knit engaging, uncomplicated"

(November 12, 2017)

This is an album of folk song that delivers everything the genre requires ... nothing more, nothing less. Whatever styles and trends come and go throughout folk music, this is a fine example of the solid foundation that remains, with Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp clearly among its foremost champions. They release ‘The Poacher’s Fate’ on 25 November ... and Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp The Poachers Fateif your tastes run to what could be called ‘classic English folk’ and include full-bodied vocals, close-knit engaging harmonies, sparse instrumentation and uncomplicated arrangements, then this is for you. 

Their repertoire draws on inspiration and sources from the North West and East Anglia, each treated with considerable respect, a deference to their subject that reflects in songs delivered with a clean and accomplished style. The subjects range widely across typical themes and narratives, from the album’s title, ‘The Poacher’s Fate’, through ‘There Is A Tavern’ and ‘Murder in the Red Barn’ to ‘The Brown Hare of Whitebrook’ ... all delivered with obvious passion and skill.

Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp refer to themselves as: ‘purveyors of traditional folk song’ and that perfectly sums up the contents of this album. However, it doesn’t make clear just how effectively they interpret ‘the tradition’, remaining firmly fixed within its foundations yet giving so much of themselves in the process, listen to ‘Brave Benbow’, ‘Wild Rover’ or ‘Carrickmannon Lake’ to understand. 

With the ‘The Poacher’s Fate’ it’s obvious that here are two musicians holding the legacy of our folk tradition in safe and capable hands.


Review: Tim Carroll

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