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RootBeat Records RBRCD33

Three years after Mayday, Lady Maisery return with an album rich in themes of journeys, challenges, connection to the land, losses and cycles. This time around, the fine harmonies of Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans deliver mostly non-traditional songs, but in a style which consciously draws on and adds to the living tradition.

Rowan’s opener, Sing For The Morning is a song and rondeau inspired by a springtime bike ride to the Pyrenees. They tackle Honest Work, Todd Rundgren’s song for “society’s debris” who have lost out in the post-industrial era. Written in 1985, it’s more relevant than ever. In A Father’s Lullaby, inspired by a visit to the Foundling Museum, Hazel delays the revelation that the three-week old baby’s mum died in childbirth. Her Order And Chaos is a moving song about death – leaving the earth, becoming part of it. For me, the highpoint of the album. The song references spring and winter, which also feature in three short seasonal songs (one from each lady).

Spring is back in Eostre, a tune for the Germanic goddess. The album’s tunes (including Sheila’s 70 for Hannah’s aunty) feature Lady Maisery’s trademark mouth music alongside sensitive instrumentation of fiddle, viola and banjo (Rowan) harp and concertina (Hazel), and accordion (Hannah).

The closer is Land On The Shore, a beautiful farewell song which may have been a Shaker hymn. It also brings to mind the refugee crisis, and I bet it will make a superb finale for concert performances.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.