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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Caroline Herring – Camilla

Possibly the most obscure album I’ve listened to this year, but undeniably one of the best. Soaked in the imagery of the southern states of the USA, this is an intoxicating mix of Country and Folk music served in punch bowl of life’s injustice. It’s summer in the Black Mountains and the fireflies flit in the warm breeze as life around the delta is dissected in these richly textured songs. It covers the themes of race, equal opportunities and the plight of working people in Herring’s homeland. It’s a thing of beauty; combining the history, music and poetry of the region. 

The atmosphere is similar to that evoked by Nina Simone; these are summer anthems laced with the menace of reality. It’s tinted with darkness, but still resonates hope and a love of life. Lyrically complex and challenging, the album maintains its immediacy and is instantly accessible to folk, country and pop fans alike. It’s a collection to relish as Herring combines this tangible sense of history with modern references and beautiful melodies.

If I had to pick my favourite tracks I’d go for the bluegrass tinged narrative of ‘Fireflies’, the laid back chill factor of ‘Black Mountain Lullaby’ and the medieval throwback of ‘Flee as a Bird.’ Possibly the standout however is ‘Maiden Voyage’; good old fashioned folk with a story, cultural references and a singalong chorus. You just can’t beat it.

This is a joyous little gem of an album. It’s unusual and quirky, but accessible and loveable. Highly recommended and I can’t wait to sample some of her other albums.

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