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- Pilgrim Chants & Pastoral Trails by Sharron Kraus
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 23 August 2013
I’ve saved this until last as I was in a bad mood earlier and just couldn’t be bothered with winsome folk. In fact, about an hour ago I may have punched its lights out, I’m very sorry to say. Thankfully, following me having to listen through a truly dreadful set of records, it’s now putting me in a lovely place and its quaint rural charms are winning over this overworked stressed out city slicker.
Okay then, what’s the best countryside? I’d say Yorkshire of course. The bit that rises up towards the Pennines from Bradford, Leeds and environs. Others may say Lancashire or Lake District or Scotland and I can see why. But I only went to Wales once when I was eight and it rained every day and I’ve never been back. People tell me it’s beautiful and its valleys certainly provide a backdrop to the lovely soothing music contained in this beautifully packaged disc.
Sharron Kraus has been making music for over a decade now and seems to be an heiress to the UK folk ancestry of Shirley Collins, Lal Waterson et al, producing a meandering take on folky loveliness. It’s also a coup for the ever-great Second Language to get her on board and they do their usual terrific job with the packaging. This record seems to be inspired by a trip to Wales, where Kraus spent the days wandering her homeland making field recordings then going home and turn it into music. A fine way to exist if you ask me.
It’s full of clinking dulcimers, wandering recorders, reedy organs and Kraus’s sweet voice which swoops and soars over the music, sometimes wordlessly humming, sometimes launching into a chanted choralled sections. The pastoral quality of the music provokes a great sense of the rural idyll, where time moves at snail’s pace and you live by the movement of the nature rather than the amount of tweets you send. The album is accompanied by a lovely oversized sleeve and gorgeous photo booklet which adds to the dark, mysterious air of the earthy music contained within.
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