‘Brave’ The Salts - folk music can change its coat and become a different animal(March 27, 2018)
One enduring strength of folk music is its ability to be both malleable and ductile, it can be forged and warped, bent and amalgamated, and yet it retains an essential essence that’s hard to disguise. The wealth of artists expounding their own versions of the genre, mixing and blending as they see fit, continue to create a rich folk-vein that thankfully shows no sign of running dry. The latest band to come to our attention are The Salts ... unafraid to blend, develop and move folk forward while still retaining an abiding and healthy respect for tradition. And sometimes along the way taking the tradition to palces it never thought to go. And that’s a prime-mover in the music of The Salts and their album ‘Brave’ ... freedom and fearlessness to invent.
They combine original material with inspired inventions wrapped around traditional songs. The result is dynamic, vibrant and well worth getting to know. The musicians in the band have all been around the ‘musical block’ more than once, and coming together have created something that not only reflects their collective journeys but a consummate skill set to go with them. The album opens with the energy of ‘Bulgine Run’, moves through ‘Running Down To Cuba’, to the intricate and instantly memorable title track ‘Brave’ ... love that song. Taking the hoary old chestnut ‘Drunken Sailor’ takes some doing but they manage to give it new life, before they inject similar inventiveness into ‘Dead Horse’, ‘Haul Away For Rosie’ and '10,000 Miles'.
‘Brave’ is an album that proves that in the hands of inspired individuals, folk music can change its coat and become a different animal yet retain the essential life force.
Review: Tim Carroll