The Fatea office also serves as a home for our weekly Along The Tracks show on Blues & Roots Radio and as a rule singles and Eps have generally gone in that direction whilst Fatea generally concentrates on albums and live reviews for our full length feature, but with more artists going back down the single route to keep themselves in the public eye, we thought it was time to reflect that in our offerings and as rules are made to be broken or at the very least adapted, welcome to the Singles Round Up. Adam Jenkins.
Unsurprisingly we've heard many recent songs inspired by the events that have effected the entire world. Some have tried to capture the madness, while others have acted more as a beacon of hope. Steve Pledger has gone down a different route with Reseda, which is a woman's name of Latin origin meaning Healer or Healing. This is a quiet and contemplative song which ranks up with Pledger's finest. It does for Coronavirus what When The Wind Blows did for nuclear winter; showing it from the perspective of a relationship. Pledger is the master at reaching inside you and pulling out emotions you barely knew you had. Reseda is an achingly beautiful song, with a devastating emotional punch. This is without doubt one of the songs of the year so far.
Shanty singer Chris Ricketts is another who's new release has come about due to the current situation. Finding the lockdown challenging, he sought to work with a variety of different artists to release a single to raise awareness and money for mental health. Featuring musicians from the UK, USA, France, Poland, Netherlands, Canada, and Russia, this is very much a rousingly uplifting song. The lyrics will strike a chord with everyone right now, and the message of getting through it together and making it to other side is what we all need to hear.
On the Banks of the Ohio is a murder ballad from the 19th Century, which Ricci discovered on Joan Baez's Folksingers recording from 1959. Willie knows the woman he loves is in love with another, but offers her the choice of being with him, or dying. This being a murder ballad, the outcome is an obvious one. Ricci's vocal talents are immense, strong but tremulous and sustained by a hypnotic vibrato. For any fans of Baez, this recording is a must, an incredible tribute and a version that breathes new life into an old classic.
Llangennech seems an odd place for an American rock singer to record an album. Yet it was to Sonic One in this Carmarthernshire village that Danny Vaughn went with collaborators Chris Childs, Rhys Morgan and Nigel Hopkins among others, to record the first album in a decade under his own name. The result was Myths, Legends & Lies, from which the single Kelly's Gone comes from. As with the rest of the album, if you think you know what to expect, you're likely to be wrong. Kelly's Gone has more of a country ballad feel to it, fitting for a tale of love and loss. It's an unexpected gem of a song, and as with the album it comes from, is well worth a listen.
It's always good to hear new music from the former licenced busker, and Another Chance is another great Ceri James blues song. The Welsh troubadour infuses the track, as indeed he does most of his music, with a fantastic raw energy. You know where you stand with James, that you aren't going to get some anodyne over-produced and easily forgotten 4 minutes of drivel. His music always feels laced with an honest sincerity, and Another Chance sucks you in and keeps you enthralled throughout. With additional vocals by Clare Portman, this is a must for fans, and a great introduction if you've not come across James before.
Departure is a bit of a, well, departure from debut album Nobody Knows Us. Written at a time when she was effectively isolated and feeling lost, it was put aside and there was no place for it in the moodier collection of songs that made it onto the album. Now back in enforced isolation, the song was pulled back out and suddenly made a lot of sense. There's no better time for Departure to be released, with its message of finding strength in troubled times. It's a wonderful pop-folk song which is uplifting and sure to send your mood soaring.
The former member of The Misters, The Employees, and Polyphonic Size has released his cover version of the latter's Je T'ai Toujours Aimée. While lyrically this is not going to make much sense to non-French speakers, it is a deeply atmospheric track and an entertaining listen no matter what your mother tongue. The Belgian musician has a fantastic gravelly vocal style, and a guitar style that is a little bit rock, a little bit punk, and a little bit new wave. It doesn't sound a million miles away from a European version of The Stranglers, which is perhaps not too surprising considering JJ Burnel sang the original song with Polyphonic Size.
Taking their name from the famous hill figure at Litlington, Chalk Horse Music write songs inspired by the folklore, landscape and legends of Sussex. Hegemony was originally inspired by the traditional folk song Sweet Lemeney, and was discovered by the band on an early Scritti Politti release. The five piece band really takes this track and makes it their own, with Liz Pearson's fantastic vocals and Darren Pearson's horns blaring out. The B side is another traditional tale given a new lease of life, and is a superb version too.
Stockholm singer-songwriter Annamay has released not one, but two new singles, both with a full band version, and a more pared back version. The former features some sublime piano accompaniment by Jonas Petersoon for Annamay's unique vocals which are full of character. Om Hon Hade Vetat has more of a country folk feel to it, fast of tempo and with a rhythm you can't help but tap you feet along to. The versions are obviously quite different, with the latter feeling especially like almost a different song entirely. It's interesting to package them in this way, and helps show a new side to both tracks.
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session
Check out our shows and many other great shows on:
If you miss Along The Tracks Live, catch up at: