‘Branching Out’ from Kings & Folk - ‘… branching out’ perfectly encapsulates their music’(December 14, 2014)
The symbiosis between siblings often forges an amalgam of voices that delivers striking vocals - some memorable combinations have resulted. Equally, the synergy within close-knit musical families often creates a similar alchemy – the interaction is instinctive. Kings & Folk is a ‘family-plus-guests’ band that builds on their respective influences, experiences and inspirations to entwine piano, fiddle, whistle, flute, percussion and voice into a fresh blend of traditional and original folk with a debut album called ‘Branching Out’. And to be fair, ‘branching out’ perfectly encapsulates their music.
The core of the band are Ian and Claire King, their son David and friend Helen Izod, beyond that, the album features the talents of guests James King (more family involvement) Colette Todd and David Cowell. ‘Branching Out’ offers a strong feel of tradition with a wide-ranging, innovative touch that makes it timeless. Outside of the ‘trads’, the songwriting falls on Ian King’s shoulders, who with a classical composing background, weaves tradition and influence from Scotland, England, Ireland and Eastern Europe into a classic debut album.
Opening with the tunes ‘Country Rounds’ and ‘Winter’s Frozen Droplets with Scarborough Fair’ and the unaccompanied song ‘Some Folks’ the calibre of Ian’s composing skills are evident. There’s a couple of trad Irish outings with ‘Cooley’s Reel’ and ‘Paddy McCarthy’ before Ian flexes his musical muscle once more with the powerful piano and highly-charged vocals of ‘The Dark Traveller’. Their repertoire takes in an evocative instrumental version of Henry VIII’s ‘Pastime with Good Company’ plus more reels and a polka. ‘Branching Out’ is carefully constructed, well worth its place in any folk collection, and a thorough enjoyment throughout.
Kings & Folk are Ian King (piano) Claire King (violin) Helen Izod (whistle, flute, backing vocals) David King (djembe drum, shaker, tambourine) with guests on selected tracks Colette Todd (vocals) David Cowell (guitar) and James King (djembe drum) - find more here: www.kingsandfolk.com.
Reviewer: Tim Carroll