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JOSHUA BURNELL - Songs From The Seasons

JOSHUA BURNELL - Songs From The Seasons
Misted Valley Records MVR18A

Songs From The Seasons is the fascinating culmination of a much bigger project. In 2016, Joshua “embarked upon an ambitious project to release his own arrangements of a traditional song or tune digitally each week, reflecting the seasons as the following year progressed.” There were over 25 musicians involved with the project, which ultimately resulted in the production of four conceptually themed albums collectively known as The Season Project. The work is bang up to date and bang to rights, in as much as Joshua has managed to breathe a new modern conception to the material. Initially, before considering instrumentation, he focused on the songs and tunes, resulting in a sophisticated, refreshing and relevant finished product. Songs From The Seasons is what it says on the tin - 14, handpicked, favourites from the overall collection.

In some respects, owing to the reworking of the material, the actual songs are, dare I say it, less important. I don’t mean to decry the origin, but rather, attempt to convey how much the songs have been transitioned. On first glance, the material is to be seen on many CDs - Two Magicians, Tam Lin, High Germany, Lord Franklin, Reynardine to single out a few. However, there is a freshness and energy evident in the modern interpretation of the material that might easily be mistaken for contemporary work. Within the usual rock-band style line-up, there is also a solid backbone of more traditional folk instrumentation. The resulting fusion of sound sparkles like flashes of crystalline silver light, sparkling through the crests of waves on a brilliant summers day.

This is an intelligent, rollicking, but subtle reinvention into the modern world of music, and is certainly praiseworthy for its integrity, that defines its original source. I would highly recommend this CD, especially if you are looking for a very satisfactory merger and fusion from old to new.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.