It`s 50 years since Liege & Lief almost single-handedly created the genre folk-rock. Since then, that simple marriage of traditional music and electric instruments had been suborned and sidetracked, dissected and documented, Oystered, Albioned and Steeleyed.
Punninly recalling the assault of the new which Fairports 1969 LP represented, they have reimagined folk rock, painting from a much larger palette, introducing the tints, tones and textures of a whole panoply of musical genres. As you`d expect, here are the precision percussion, searingly tasteful guitars, melodic basses and fiery fiddles that one associates with the genre. But in addition, one finds brass in truly British styles - the dazzling brightness of Purcell, the oomph of Elgar, the emotive richness of a Yorkshire brass band soloist – but also hints of jazz, trad and modern, and even the occasional mariachi riff, string sections, and countless astute references to a long legacy of pop and rock in its many forms.
However, this is by no means an “everything including the kitchen sink” approach. Elements are used sparingly, tellingly and, and most important of all, appropriately. When less is more, the sound is stripped back – listen to their almost acapella take on My Lagen Love and no further explanation is needed. Many of the songs they perform are familiar classics. Many are simply gems from the tradition that band members have always wanted to perform – could there be a better reason for singing a song?
After the success of their first album, Cautionary Tales, and the highly acclaimed second album, Further Tales of Love Death and Treachery, work has now finished on the band`s third studio album, Strange News.
Five Guys, five voices, five shadows, loads of fun, umpteen instruments! Guitars, bass, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica, banana peel, comb and paper... Featuring five part harmonies, compact, bijou and unrepeatable..only joking!
No strangers to the stage, played at festivals, clubs, bars, large and small. Impossible to pigeonhole, flavours of beer and sunshine! Shades of Americana, a rumour of folk, a whisper of country.
Smith & Brewer
Ben Smith and Jimmy Brewer met at an event organised by Joan Armatrading for the acts she had chosen to support her on her 2015 tour. Although they originally planned to just write together, they soon realised that their playing styles and voices complemented each other and they started playing together after their inaugural gig supporting Joan in front of a thousand-strong crowd.
Since then, they have played together all over the UK, notably as the support act to 10cc and Ralph McTell on their 2018 U.K tours, at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention 2018, the 2018 Cambridge Folk Festival and the UK Americana Music Association Showcase in 2017 and 2019, as well as at AmericanaFest in Nashville in 2017. They also contributed backing vocals to Ralph McTell’s new album, which was produced by Tony Visconti.