SETH LAKEMAN announces NEW ALBUM, ‘WORD OF MOUTH’ to be RELEASED Jan 31st 2014
RELEASED Jan 31st 2014
Recorded this summer in a studio set-up in a Cornish church, ‘Word Of Mouth’ is a defining album for Seth Lakeman’s storied career and for the landscape of British folk.
The album, released as a CD, LP and a limited special edition 2CD + DVD Bookpack* is the natural successor to 2011’s ‘Tales From the Barrel House’. It keeps the stripped-back storytelling but embellishes it with a denser, fuller version of Seth’s hauntingly melodic style.
Seth has bared his traditional folk roots more than ever before with ‘Word Of Mouth’. The sound is deeper and more dramatic than previous albums, in part owing to Seth’s recruitment of his live band: As well as Ben Nicholls, Cormac Byrne, Lisbee Stainton and Sean Lakeman, guests on the album include Leon Hunt playing banjo on ‘Last Rider’, cellist India Bourne on ‘The Wanderer’ and ‘Lau’ accordion player Martin Green on ‘Tiger’. Ian Grimble, a veteran of Abbey Road studios whose CV includes The Manic Street Preachers, Beth Orton and Cat Stevens, produced and mixed the album.
Recorded in North Tamerton Church in East Cornwall and featuring the stories of the real people who inspired the album, ’Word of Mouth’ straddles the folk tradition Seth’s music is steeped in and the contemporary folk movement that he has become such a seminal figure of.
‘Kitty Jay’, Seth’s Mercury award-nominated second album, was recorded in his kitchen for £300. His last offering ‘Tales From the Barrel House’ was recorded partly in a copper mine. With those behind him, a church seems a natural choice for this album. As Seth explains, it’s about capturing the sound of the room, a much-forgotten part of the recording process, “I enjoyed the honesty and edginess of that, the instruments, certainly wooden instruments, breathe a bit more.”
“It is the complete opposite to building a record in the studio. Sometimes just singing some of the lyrics, looking up at the stained glass window – it was a powerful, emotional feeling, I think it adds to the passion. You can hear the birds, something could be tuned here or there but there’s no autotune, reverb or effects added – just the church.”
The second CD in the limited edition Bookpack contains interviews with the real life protagonists of the album’s stories. These include a long-serving railway worker (‘The Last Rider’), a dock working veteran of 40 years (‘Another Long Night’), a travelling couple who have put down roots but still long for their old life on the road (‘The Wanderer’), a man carrying a troubled memory of World War 2 (‘Tiger’) and those who annually honour the Tolpuddle Martyrs struggle for workers rights (‘Each Man’).
As well as tying him to the folk tradition of telling the stories of ordinary people, Seth hopes these interviews open up the artistic process. “It’s really just a fascination with people – being socially aware of the community where you’re from. [After] each of these interviews I’d go away and unpick and unravel it, obviously there’s artistic license but the interview becomes the bedrock for the song.
Seth Lakeman has been at the forefront of the re-emergence of British folk, its escape from the dark shadow of bearded men in Fair Isle jumpers into a new light for energetic, heartfelt musicians and a rediscovered respect for acoustic music. ‘Word Of Mouth’ shows Seth continuing to lead the way.
‘Word of Mouth’ will be released Jan 31st 2014 on Cooking Vinyl Records.
*The limited special edition Bookpack includes the CD of the album, a second CD which has 3 bonus tracks and 9 interviews, a DVD which includes the Making Of the album, and a 24 page booklet containing exclusive photos and lyrics.