A Tribute to Those We’ve Lost

It can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that January 2016 will forever be remembered as the month where we lost some truly great and inspiring people in a very short space of time.  As this is our last January song we thought we should do a small tribute to those bright lights, and to do so we chose to sing Wayfaring Stranger.

The song appears to have it’s roots in the Appalachian region of America potentially dating back to around the 1780s.  It was associated with various cultures and communities across America and has been covered in more recent times by the likes of Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris and Jack White.  The song speaks of death in a beautifully positive light; the transition from a dark and painful world into one of light and reunion and we couldn’t think of a better song to use for this occasion.

We kept our arrangement very simple as the song doesn’t need any tricky finger picking or crazy vocals, the song just speaks for itself.  All we’ve added is an extra chorus to include a brother in the narrative and an additional humming verse (if you listen closely you may even hear me droning away underneath!).

So here you go, we really hope you enjoy this one, and let’s hope the rest of 2016 is a little brighter!

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An Address to a Haggis

So as you can probably tell from the title, we’ve gone a tad Scottish this week! Those of you with a knowledge of such things may have also gathered that our title refers to a poem by Robert (Rabbie) Burns.  As tomorrow (25th) is Burns Night we thought it only fitting to do a song that he wrote.

Burns Night celebrates the birthday of Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s most celebrated wordsmith.  Events generally consist of haggis, whiskey, bagpipes and every other Scottish wonder you can fit into one evening!

When we decided to go for a Burns poem we only ever had one song in mind. Becca heard Ca’ The Yowes on the BBC Folk Show and ran around the kitchen like a lunatic because they said ‘yowes’ and not ‘ewes’.  She has spent many an Easter break helping out with lambing in Cumbria and always feels very awkward trying to join in with the northern farming dialects with her perfect Queen’s English, so why not take it one step further and battle with a Scottish dialect song!

The version we have chosen to sing is Burns’ revised version of the poem which was written in 1794.  The original was written 5 years earlier and contained verses which were omitted from the second edition:

As I gaed down the water-side,
There I met my shepherd lad:
He row’d me sweetly in his plaid,
And he ca’d me his dearie.

Will ye gang down the water-side,
And see the waves sae sweetly glide
Beneath the hazels spreading wide,
The moon it shines fu’ clearly.

Ye sall get gowns and ribbons meet,
Cauf-leather shoon upon your feet,
And in my arms ye’se lie and sleep,
An’ ye sall be my dearie.

If ye’ll but stand to what ye’ve said,
I’se gang wi’ thee, my shepherd lad,
And ye may row me in your plaid,
And I sall be your dearie.

While waters wimple to the sea,
While day blinks in the lift sae hie,
Till clay-cauld death sall blin’ my e’e,
Ye sall be my dearie.

We really enjoyed putting this song together, and was actually one of the easiest for us to get to grips with, we performed it 2 days after first learning it and were amazed at how well it had stuck in our minds!

So happy Burns Night everyone, we hope you enjoy this tribute as much as we do 🙂

 

An Unwilling Sailor

So first of all I should apologise for being a lazy sod and not having written a blog for our last 2 songs; I’ll give you a quick round up!

First off we went mega christmassy with our song on 20th December with a classic carol In The Bleak Midwinter (which happens to be the favourite of both our mothers!)

 

Then after Christmas we had the very great pleasure of inviting our Friend Anna Hester along to sing a song which she chose: Midwinter Toast by Thea Gilmore, which we absolutely loved recording with her.  She’s an amazing singer and songwriter so please everyone go and check her out!

Anna Hester Soundcloud

 

So anyway, that’s what we got up to at the end of 2015.  Onwards and upwards into the new year!

This week we have gone back to basics and picked a short, traditional English folk tune called All Things Are Quite Silent.  It is a story of a lamenting bride who’s husband was snatched from their marriage bed by a press gang and forced to serve in the King’s Navy.  The woman bemoans the loss of her “jewel” of a man, mourning in the first half of the song.  The second half shows her as maintaining a sense of optimism, believing that one day her husband may still come back to her; although we never find out if he does or not!

The song was initially collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1904 in Lower Beeding, Sussex, although it will have been relatively old even at that time.  Press-ganging, although never legally banned, had pretty much faded out of use by around the 1830s so one would assume it is from around the late 18th or early 19th century.

We really enjoyed this one as once again we got to put our own arrangement on a classic tune rather than doing a straight cover, and I got to play my new guitar! Her name’s Michelle and I love her!

So here we go, thank you everyone for your support and kind words in 2015, we can’t wait to see what tunes this new year will send our way!