Review Archive

'Bare Foot Folk' - collection of English folk in classic style from Ange Hardy

(May 20, 2013)

'Bare Foot Folk' is quite simply a delightful collection of English folk in classic style from Ange Hardy. The melodies are unadulterated, the guitar work mouth-watering, the vocals enchanting with laid-bareAnge Hardy harmonies. What forges the surprise is these are all self-penned songs that are at once ancient then ageless; from three hundred years ago or from yesterday.

The opener ‘Young Martha’s Well’ is as pure a slice of folk as you’re likely to find – a narrative of love and sadness – just the fare you would expect. What you don’t expect is this modern folk comes with all the essence of a traditional pedigree. By contrast, ‘Crafty Father John’ has a delightful melody and tells a ‘church confession box’ narrative but leaps forward hundreds of years with its reference to exposing your ‘sins’ on your social network. A moral tale about purity of heart follows, as ‘Mother Willow Tree’ sits perfectly within Ange’s style and feel for English folk.

'Bare Foot Folk', due for release at the end of May on Story Records, reflects an artist working within traditional roots and proving that their shoots remain as lush as ever in her capable hands. There are battle cries and songs of suffering, tales of the sea and sparkling shanties, legends of loss and laughter and a good ghost story. All the elements of the narrative tradition are here in ‘Forlorn Land’, ‘Away With You Lassie’, ‘It Can’t be So’ and ‘The Ghost On The Moors’ – all beautifully presented with stripped-back clarity. There’s only one concession to the modern world - a loop pedal to effect the layered harmonies.

This is an album that will appeal to folkies immersed in the tradition and those that push boundaries. Futures that pay homage to their history, and both will gain so much from 'Bare Foot Folk'. There's only one wish - that we could have the lyrics included.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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