Seasonal Sevens; Autumn
by Pamela Wyn Shannon / The Magickal Folk Of The Faraway Tree
Autumn Ferment Records : AFR-SS02 : 2009
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The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is truly upon us so it's high time we brought to you the second in our Seasonal Sevens series: Autumn, featuring Pamela Wyn Shannon and The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree.
Originally from the States , but now living in Wales, Pamela's 'Woolgathering' is taken from her fine salute to our season in question, 'Courting Autumn', released in 2007. With bleating sheep and the gentle trundle of a spinning wheel, 'Woolgathering' is a blustery walk through swirling leaves and bonfire smoke, draped delicately in autumnal melancholy. Finger picked guitar and violin sections as warm and comforting as a glowing hearth provide a full and emotive backing to Pamela's charming vocals. With the right blend between rosy cheeked leaf kicking and the foreboding, drawing in of autumn nights, 'Woolgathering' is a perfect ode to the misty moistly season.
The double A side's 'Blackthorn Tree' is a track from Ireland's wonderful and slightly mystique band of musicians, The Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree (Shane Cullinane, David Colohan, Gavin Prior, Caroline Coffee, Sean Og and more ). Taken from their now long out of print cdr gem, 'The Mildew Leaf' released through Deserted Village in 2003, 'The Blackthorn Tree' is a folk flavoured foray through the hedgerows of love and romance, similar in analogy to Burns' 'Red, Red Rose'. With lead vocals from David Colohan (Agitated Radio Pilot) as heart warming and strong as a fine malt (or Sloe liquor) and with accompanying vocal harmonies, banjo and flute foraging their way throughout the track, 'The Blackthorn Tree' is an endearing song that will wrap you up against the frost of the encroaching winter.
Released on autumnal 'leaf-mould' brown coloured 7" vinyl with artwork front slip and housed in a deluxe pvc sleeve. 300 pressings only.
Common Folk Meadow
This time the good guys over at Autumn Ferment Records chose one track from Massachusetts based singer-songwriter Pamela Wyn Shannon (which currently lives in Wales) and one from The Magickal Folk Of The Faraway Tree from Ireland. Let me say one sentence before I start reviewing: If you love folk music and you have some money left, buy this record and don’t think about it!
Pamela Wyn Shannon’s track Woolgathering is one dreamful homage to the lovely time of the year we call autumn (or fall or whatever) and which we all love with all our flesh and bone. All the melancholy, the raw weather, but also the beautiful colors and the alluring scent of fallen leaves are represented in her little story about wandering and woolgathering all around. Musically this theme is realized by the use of strings whose melodies are sad, thoughtful and melancholic at the same time. Along with those strings Pamela Wyn Shannon plays one overwhelming fingerpicking style on her acoustic guitar whereby the guitar melodies are rich and haunting and a perfect foundation for the strings and the stunning voice of her. Everytime she sings you can feel all the power of the instrumentation gathered in one mystical but earthbound voice sounding like a twilight that can guide you to every place it wishes. An astonishing track.
Let’s move on to The Magickal Folk Of The Faraway Tree and their song The Blackthorn Tree. First of all I can’t imagine a track that could possibly go better with Woolgathering as this one. And this is not because it would sound alike but for it is sort of different – very different so to say – where Woolgathering sounds floating this one sounds earthly, where the first one is dreamy this one is perfectly aware. If you listen to the music, the somewhat outstanding flute (or what instrument is this?), the stripped down acoustic guitar and the duet of two male voices you can feel the rough charme of a walk in the dark woods but also the loneliness of being out of sight of everybody’s eyes and just alone with your own thoughts of love and life. Pure beauty.
So what is there to say anymore? Autumn Ferment Records released one of the loveliest records and one of the best collector’s items this year with the two 7’’s and especially with Autumn. If you have any passion for collecting music and folk you should buy your copy as long as they have some left.
NORMAN RECORDS -Recommendation 24th of Nov
Autumn Ferment Records have released the second installment in their Seasonal Sevens split 7" series. This one just catching the tail end of Autumn with Pamela Wyn Shannon and The Magickal Folk Of The Faraway Tree. This is contemporary yet traditional folk music. Pamela Wyn Shannon's side 'Woolgathering' is a lovely intimate track full of pretty sounds and heartwarming lyrics about Autumn. The strings sound particularly soothing and her voice is most pleasing on the ear. I think this will appeal to lovers of the ladies of the modern folk movement like Meg Baird/ Espers/ Haruko etc. On the flipside the Magickal Folk do there thing, the vocal sounded very familiar and then I read it was David Colohan from Agitated Radio Pilot. He's singing about strawberry's and raspberries and it's making me hungry. This is quite a stripped down number with fairly simple yet effective strings and flute (I think!). Ltd hand numbered edition of 300 on brown vinyl (The summer single was on yellow so we're guessing the winter will come on white vinyl...)
Alarmingly gorgeous is this, pressed up on wood stove burnt vinyl - alright then brown wax to you - and there’s me trying to create a little mystique - really I do wonder why I bother sometimes. Anyway the much anticipated second instalment of Autumn Ferments seasonal sevens series is upon us, the series intended and indeed dedicated to celebrating the four seasons - those being summer, autumn, winter and spring and alas not the Frankie Valli led combo of the same name - will be heralded by the arrival of an ultra limited 7 inch release featuring a groove sharing feast of tunes marking the occasion. Last time out treats were abound with summer’s offering which saw the pairing of Emily Scott and Helene Renaut. Now for Autumns turn and a beautifully leaf bearing treat it is to. Pamela Wyn Shannon takes up residency on one side, relocated these days from the States to Wales ’woolgathering’ culled from her 2007 ’courting Autumn’ full length is simply spellbinding, a lushly bathed slice of bliss laden and lilting timeless folk craft speckled with enchantment, a seductive courtship of a long forgotten archaic melodic tapestry woven from a secret source of a would be love potion that enlists the aid of all manner of sounds to its bow from the creaking tones of a spinning wheel, the distant bleating of sheep and the gentle unassuming caress of souring string arrangements which once all gathered up merrily dance an alluring rustic woodland waltz. Flip over for Ireland’s mysterious and excellently named collective the Magickal Folk of the Faraway Tree. Our only grumble here is that its too brief for its own good, again an old recording this one culled from their long out of print ’the middle leaf’ set from a few years back the sweetly bitter and reflective ’blackthorn tree’ is their side of the bargain - a sensitively stirring and breezy beauty that’s blessed with lolloping banjo braids and a flighty free spirited flute detailing, sparse in texture humbled and homely in execution and delivery, its winter bound gaelic charm and campfire introspection may in its wake leave you a tad low and tearful. A bruised gem.