I was introduced to Bel Blue courtesy of Dave Chamberlain's "Acoustic Routes" show. He had Bel in the studio showcasing tracks from her recently released "Our Places" album. Before the show was over, I'd made contact via Facebook and a copy of the album was winging it's way to me.
I've always thought the most important things about folk albums are the relationship that the songs have with people and places, a criteria you will guess from the title, this album meets very easily, in fact it takes the concept one step further forward, by actually recording some of the songs at the locations that inspired them.
Organic is a phrase that seems to get thrown as music today, particularly when the sounds are sparse and simple, but for me that lacks one of the essentially elements of organic, which is the ability to aid and inspire growth and to do so without forcing a particular behaviour and it's that latter criteria that really allows the term to be applied to "Our Places".
It's something that is really brought home by "Wild Dog Rose" which almost embellishes the album's feel in a single track. I like roses, I love the messages that are attached to them, but to me the wild dog rose has a beauty all of it's own, especially when it sits in the right spot, happy in the environment it's in, adding a touch of colour, giving something to contrast and compare with. Take it away from its place, it loses some of that.
Whilst the album is called "Our Places", the reality is this is Bel's places, well Bel and friends places at a stretch. She is taking us to them and even though we will never see and hear what she sees, we can get that sense of place and meaning and paint our own pictures in. Journeys may be had years and miles apart, but memories can be the same.
Bel Blue, has delivered a delightful album. "Our Places" may not be a map or a place of geography, but it is definitely a gazetteer for the soul.
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