‘A Yard of Ale’ from Stuart Forester(April 26, 2013)
Stuart Forester is blessed with a resonant, classic English-folk voice ... he can also write, play and sing touching, searching and pointedly perceptive narrative-rich folk songs. For assurance, were any needed, his latest album ‘A Yard of Ale’ is the only testament required. Within this album there are reflections of life with all its struggle and vagaries, image-filled narratives that tell timeless tales and memories driven by digging through old legends.
Listening to the opener ‘Mitcham Fair Green’ you could be sitting there today or perhaps two hundred years ago and the message comes across powerful and clear ... testosterone-flooded young man meets ‘lady of the night’. Stuart writes a fair old melody and with his equally engaging guitar style holds you from the first - note the eminently sing-able and celebratory ‘Yorkshire Rose’ and a less-than-innocuous look back at a life in the deeply reflective ‘Star of the West’. He also adds his interpretation of tradition with ‘Factory Girl’ relatingengrained self-reliance and fierce independence, and the harrowing tale of despair in ‘Cold Coast of Iceland’.
For a good-natured, bitter-sweet love story listen to the endearing story of ‘Duke & Little Renie’ and share in their life experience. There are also explorations of nature and its seasons within the legendary character of ‘Bramblefoot’ and ‘The Bowerbird’, and to round out this collection of unadulterated folk is the stunning sadness of ‘Valhalla’.
These are songs that you’ll want to hear again and again. That need for repetition is because their stories are eternal and so much of their essence lives in all of us.
‘A Yard of Ale’ : www.stuartforester.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll