Heidi Talbot is a folk musician from County Kildare, Ireland, who now resides in Scotland. Having already released four albums which picked up 2008’s Indie Acoustic award and several nominations at BBC Radio 2’s Folk Awards, Talbot is back with a new record, Here We Go, 1, 2, 3, a release built around the notion of leaping into territories new.
Joined by a collection of musicians, including her husband John McCusker, Duke Special, Adam Holmes, Boo Hewerdine and Louis Abbott of Glasgow’s Admiral Fallow, Talbot manages to traverse the gamut of musical styles across the album. Rising above and beyond her traditional British folk sound, she explores the dusty Americana landscapes of country and bluegrass and even adds shades of classic pop, the music itself pushing into new, unexplored areas of overlap between genres. As such, the album is difficult to pin down. At once quick and slow, merry and morose. This is songwriting willing to push into themes of sadness or darkness without submitting to their forces, countering every sombre note with a firm belief in restorative power of time and music itself. Indeed, Talbot’s description of the title track also serves to speak for the album as a whole:
“I loved the idea of it being quite uplifting, of it not being a funeral hymn, even though it’s about death…“It’s as sad as you want it to be”
Seeing as Heidi Talbot amalgamates so many folky fragments into her own work, we thought it would be nice to explore the modern folk music that inspires her, with a view to perhaps figuring out who and what she draws upon when writing such varied music. Below are ten of her favourite songs that might be put under the modern folk bracket:
1) Apothecary Love – The Low Anthem – This band capture lightening in a bottle in the recording studio. Being in a studio can be a very sterile experience but the Low Anthem manage to create and capture magic.
2) Cold Old Fire – Lynched – Great example of singers singing how they speak. Modern day folk song written after the financial crisis in Ireland. Full of passion.
3) Nothing But The Same Old Story – Paul Brady – There’s only one Paul Brady. Nobody can sing and play guitar like him. I love this telling of a mans experience of being an Irish emigrant in London in the 70’s. Paul really captures the frustrations, fears, homesickness and tension. You have to hear him sing this live, he’s fearless!
4) The Last Day of Our Acquaintance – Sinead O’Connor – Just Sinead and a guitar until the last verse. Soulful and honest.
5) The Poorest Company – Drever, McCusker Woomble – This song sounds like it could’ve been written a thousand years ago. Three brilliant musicians continuing the folk song tradition.
6) Travelers – Tim O’Brien – There’s so many Tim songs I could add to this list. He’s like this generations Woody Guthrie. I love the melody of this song.
7) A Rainy Night in Soho – The Pogues – One of my all time favourite folk songs. Shane McGowan is such a beautiful poet “I stepped into your arms, On a rainy night in Soho, the wind was whistling all it’s charms”.
8) Galileo – Declan O’Rourke – Everything about this song is perfect to me. It’ll be sung forever.
9) Kentish Town Waltz – Imelda May – I love hearing singers sing their experience in their own words, a big part of folk songs and Imelda uses gorgeous imagery in her lyrics. “I watched the moon cover the might of the sun, the weird eerie light at a quarter past one, I knew in my head as I lay in my bed that you’d stay in my heart, til the day i was dead”. Gorgeous.
10) Love Down The Line – Adam Holmes – From Adam’s new record, Brighter Still. Such a gorgeous voice. A beautiful folk melody with Adam’s beautiful lyrics.
Here We Go, 1, 2, 3… is out on the 23rd September and you can pre-order it now from Proper Music. Find out more about her previous releases via the Heidi Talbot website.