Emerging from deepest Northumberland, this border region on the northern extremity of England with its own diverse culture and traditions are The Brothers Gillespie. As the name suggests, a duo of brothers, here with their second album, The Fell.
Opener 'Golden One' is a great introduction to the album where there is a sense in the atmosphere of the song which takes you to another place, rather like a stream slowly on a journey, leaving the listener transfixed with weaving blood harmony and delicate harp from Siannie Moodie which backs numerous tracks adding an extra layer of mystique to the album.
'Tina's Song' is a terrific political ballad dedicated to activist 'Tina' and those who continue to stand against Quadrilla who aim to frack Lancashire. A true story of Tina's plight against the frackers which continues to this day.
Throughout the record The Brothers Gillespie thread their way through echoes of material akin to British Folk Revival, Blues and Americana whilst still sounding quintessentially English.
'Northumberland I' & 'Northumberland II' mark a point in the middle of the album with a poem composed by Hexhamshire poet Wilfred Wilson Gibson set to music and 'Northumberland II' almost feels like a love letter written to this border region. Here Moodie's harp really comes to the fore and with light percussive Bodhran backing this, dare I say... anthem for Northumberland that becomes an evocative song with a strong earthy 'Celtic' feel.
'Wilderness & Wild' is the slow burner on the album. With definite echoes of Dylan and Crosby, Stills & Nash, this feels like a hidden gem on a dusty forgotten vinyl from the 60s. A track of longing, full of lyrical interpretation which keeps the listener reaching for 'repeat' and one of those songs you can easily immerse and lose yourself within its melody and atmosphere.
Closing song 'The Banks of the Liffey' could be said to be drinking song, but perhaps that doesn't do it enough justice. A wistful and plaintive ballad that continues with the potent recipe that stands this album on solid ground throughout its nine tracks. Songs slowly crafted, matured and left to distill over time.
Every song on this album brings a separate and pertinent story which burns brighter with every listen. A definite musos album, 'The Fell' could be lost treasure from the British Folk Revival or a modern day contemporary Folk classic. An album of visceral beauty, striking for the heart and as part of the earth, land and landscape as the title suggests. Highly recommended.
|Third Ear Band: Elements 1970-1971||RJ Chesney: Amateur Revolution|
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