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House and Land are a folk duo comprising of Sally Ann Morgan (Black Twig Pickers) and Sarah Louise, whose solo album Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars impressed critics upon its release in early 2019. Across The Field is the duo’s second album and mixes traditional folk with psychedelic folk making for a refreshing take on folk music.

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Across The Field by House and Land
1 review. Write a review for us »
8/10 Daoud Staff review, 11 July 2019

Earlier this year I reviewed Sarah Louise’s excellent ‘Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars’, an album which took virtuosic folk guitar playing and turned it into something twisted and unfamiliar. What was apparent, even through all the layers of electronic manipulation, was that Louise had chops. That when it came down to it, she was a really good guitarist.

House and Land, her project with Sally Ann Morgan, merely confirms what I already knew to be true. With ‘Across the Field’ they’ve created a beautiful folk record, and one that is more traditional (at least to my ear), than Louise’s solo effort. What it really makes clear is that Louise is a deeply expressive guitarist. For instance, as well as providing a sparkling backdrop to the vocals on ‘Rainbow ‘Mid Life’s Willows’, she also does a bit of improvisation that is viscerally rhythmic.

Morgan meanwhile plays the banjo and the fiddle. While it’s always fun to hear a banjo and a guitarist thrash it out together as on ‘Cursed Soldier’, I much prefer hearing her on the fiddle. ‘Carolina Lady’ is a heart wrenching 8 minute instrumental duet between the two, that is every bit as powerful as Ry Cooder’s ‘Paris, Texas’ score.

They also sing together on ‘Across the Field’, the harmonies on ‘Ca The Yowes’ are striking and strange, and makes Robert Burns words all the more evocative. And it takes guts to cover Burns. I don't know much about traditional folk music, but I know him. House and Land have plenty to spare. 



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