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BECKY MILLS - Tall Tales And Home Truths 

BECKY MILLS - Tall Tales And Home Truths 
Talking Elephant TECD414 

English singer songwriter Becky Mills is known through her work with the band Waking The Witch and her previous solo album, Dandelion. For her second solo effort, she has enlisted some notable company including Blair Dunlop and Ruth Angell from the Ashley Hutchings/ Albion Band/Rainbow Chasers stable, and also concertina player Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, himself a heavyweight instrumentalist with BBC Folk Radio 2 Young Folk Award nominated trio, Granny's Attic. That company anchors her music within the melodic English folk/soft folk rock vein. Becky’s singing is clear and distinctive; her strong voice suitably declamatory and sensitive in turn, and she has chosen a batch of well-rounded ballad style songs that beg a wider audience. She possesses a penchant for story songs rooted in folkloric ideals, but adding the crucially imaginative lyrical next step which removes her from the school of re-teller to that of the creator of story-based songs that invoke extra connotation and place.

The opening My Brother’s A Farmer places her firmly in the early 70s folk sound, redolent of the Topic label and artists like Dave & Toni Arthur and Anne Briggs, with a rich backing of fiddle and concertina adding a lustrous canvas. The Lady Of Ballantyne suggests a ballad ripe for coverage with an attractive refrain. The mellow sound of Crocuses, with its whispered vocal and supressed backing, suggests traditional and acid folk motifs, yet creates a formal fragility. The Gunsmith’s Daughters has a strident melody and its flowing vivacity recalls June Tabor and Joni Mitchell vocally, while the travelogue of City In My Lungs balances the spacious countryside with the urban claustrophobia of city life. The realm of the story song and narrative ballad suits her singing style. A finely wrought collection of evocative and fresh sounding songs delivered with poise and finesse, Tall Tales And Home Truths begs attention and displays the unfolding of a talent of considerable stature.

John O’Regan


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine