Daisybell CD launch 20th April 2017
Attracting attention to the launch of your CD is a problem that everyone who produces such a thing has to face. This is particularly true if it is your debut disc and you do not have a big label behind you to help publicise the event. Daisybell, a female musical trio from Warwickshire adopted a quite innovative approach. They recorded a video of them singing a well known folk song with new lyrics announcing the impending launch and put it out on social media. This landed in my inbox from a friend of a friend (exactly how social media should work) and having seen it I was determined to attend. The event turned out to be more of a party than a concert, with cake, a dress themed competition and other guests who came along to sing for their cake.
Ginny White, Katherine Fear and Anya Fay have been together for just over a year as Daisybell and their efforts to gain an audience proved to be worthwhile as the Concert Room at the Humber pub in Coventry was filled with people coming to hear them. The trio gave extremely good value in both quality and quantity. In all we enjoyed twenty songs from them alone, most of them original compositions. Katherine Fear is the main songwriter, but Ginny and Anya contribute too. The arrangements for their three voices are both harmonious sometimes intricate. All three play a variety of instruments ranging through Guitar, Ukulele, Melodica, Flute and Recorders of various pitches to Cajon. The whole combines into very beautiful harmonies and sometimes very funny lyrics.
The CD has seven tracks of which five were written by the group members. The first is "Foxes" written by Katherine after a frustrating evening trying to write a song for a project, so she went for a walk in the night. She heard and spied a fox, hence the first line, "There's Foxes in the copse along the street from where I live" it goes on "I'm no threat to them I'm not their hunter" this song although remaining gentle moves us from a picture of a natural idyll. to a situation which has parallel in the current political landscape, when we hear, "There's strangers in this strange world living down the street from me, they may soon be hounded out by misplaced jealousy"
The thought provoking morale of the tale is that if we don't all pull together then none of us will make it.
Songs of the hardships suffered by the boatmen and their families on the canals when ice prevented them travelling are not exactly thin on the ground. However, a song about the adversities endured by those who muster the products that the canal boats carried in such circumstances is a rarer concept. "Miners Winter" explores the situation when coal could not be delivered, therefore the miner's wages dried up. The family have no food and the children no chance of any presents. This song was prompted by the stories told by Katherine's Great Grandfather, and compares that existence with the softer life we enjoy today. There is a hook in this song which is quite effective and fully explored using three part harmonies and features Anya's Melodica.
When Katherine announced that they felt obliged to include at least one traditional song on the CD, I wondered why. They have a complete repertoire of quality songs that are self-penned that would have more than adequately filled that spot. That said it's inclusion does demonstrate their folk roots and their ability to handle a song known to millions, thus "Silver Dagger" tells the story of a bride in waiting whose match is not approved by her mother. It goes on to expound the theory that no men are to be trusted - except her father of course. So the girl is resigned to maidenhood.
On a brighter note the girls tell us that they know the secret of a good life. At a rollicking pace we are advised that the secret is to live life as it comes. Get the sunshine on your face and a hand upon the drums. Explore the things we see around us, open every book and search the boxes before us. Get our hands out of our pockets and get on with life. The combination of Katherine's concert ukulele and the bass version played by Ginny, keeps this cheerful song rolling along and uplifting the audience.
"Willow" written by Anya is an song to a willow tree under which the singer remembers the activities that have taken place under it's branches throughout her life. It is a loving tribute to an animate object that has been part of her life for ever. Until that is, the tree was cut down. The tree served as cover and protection and holds many memories. The line "The willow weeps the night I die, kissing the ground on which I lie" assumes a mutual affection between the person and the tree. It is a lovely, emotional song in which Anya plays the recorder and sings the lead part.
The history, the dark forbidding cliffs and the iron grey sea surrounding Whitby feature in a very traditional sounding song, which, had it not been credited to Katherine Fear, could convincingly be portrayed as one which is very much older. "The Cliffs Above Whitby" tells a sorrowful tale. It recalls a woman counting the steps up the hill and contemplating how long it would take to fall all the way back down again. It does however offer hope that she will dance through the clouds into the sunshine and once again go running along the beach barefoot. It is a haunting and alluring song.
An unlisted bonus track on the CD is an acapella rendition of "Early One Morning" This is the song to which new words were put to publicise the CD launch. I wonder if I am the only one who wishes that they had included that version of the song because it is a gem.
Other original songs they delighted us with included "Men Of New Jersey," "See Through The Mist" and "The Crow On The Fencepost" and a hilarious version of "William Taylor" written by a friend of Katherine's, Dave Taylor, who we assume in no relation to the blackguard (in this version) aforesaid William. This talented and funny trio amused and entertained us fully and included a song by Anya "Down At "Upton Warren" relating to village life. There were too many songs in the set for me to do justice to in this report, suffice to say that the capacity crowd lapped up every one.
Support for the main event was provided by Bill Bates, who besides singing to his own accompaniment on guitar, also served as MC as well doubling as sound man. He delighted us with a song about a lady who went on to a matchmaking site on line, but who was less than candid about herself. She was lined up with a man who did the same thing and do you know what, they hit it off. Bill assured us that this was a true story, but his finger rubbing the side of his nose cast doubt on that.
Brian Phillips also caught our attention with a comic song centred on Camden but involved having to spend forty years "inside". One half of the band "The Kazoos" completed the support, hence they were announced as "The Two Kazoos" and although those instruments(?) did feature in their act, the music was provided by their skilful playing of two guitars, one of which was a five string bass. Intriguingly they kept swapping them back and forth throughout their act.
The whole night was very enjoyable and no-one left early. The essence of the evening was local people being entertained by local acts in the true tradition of Folk Clubs. Keep an eye out for their gigs coming up. The CD can be bought direct from the website
Tony Collins:Words and Pics
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