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GEORGIA LEWIS - The Bird Who Sings Freedom

GEORGIA LEWIS - The Bird Who Sings Freedom
RootBeat Records RBRCD37

Georgia Lewis’s debut album presents 11 songs steeped in the traditional English folk idiom, as well as five tunes. Her swooping vocals, redolent with feeling, are well supported by an experienced band, creating a full, tight sound, and punctuating, driving rhythms. Georgia herself plays accordion, whistle and Shruti box.

The seven traditional tracks include a version of The Wife Of Usher’s Well with a new tune. The slow ballad of Lady Diamond sits alongside the more upbeat Trees They Do Grow High and The Unfortunate Lass. Perhaps the strongest song is the slow and gentle Must I Be Bound where only Rowan Piggott’s piano accompanies Georgia’s tender and heartfelt singing.

Georgia herself has composed one song – Until One Day - while also setting music to a lesser known A.E. Houseman poem. Band member Rowan Piggott (whose fiddle playing is a key feature of the album, especially on Gypsies) also contributes a composition – A Royal Game / Kungsleden. The inspiration for the title track comes from the words of Maya Angelou, set to music by Jerry Jordan. Sleeve notes are included with the album, citing influences and sources for the songs, although no lyrics are included.

The Bird Who Sings Freedom brings fine musicianship and an authentic feel to well-known traditional songs, while adding hints of more contemporary work. Upbeat and rich in sound, it is an excellent example of the present output from the English folk scene.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.