Reviewed by Martyna Piątkowska
The British folk scene has just been brushed up with a wonderful novelty in the form of a debut album. These Gathered Branches by The Foxglove Trio was released this month.
After the success of their EP Like Diamond Glances in 2013 the band did not drift into hibernation only to spring These Gathered Branches out of the blue, but have been actively sharing their music with eager audiences at gigs across the country, collecting outstanding reviews and blossoming into the mature trio that they are today.
Those who are not yet familiar with The Foxglove Trio do not need to first learn about their profile in order to appreciate their music. The melody of the voices and accompanying harmonies tell unspeakable stories, not only about the roots of the folk songs recorded but also about the members of the group: Ffion Mair from Llanwddyn, who leads the trio with her voice and also plays bodhran and whistle; Patrick Dean from Wakefield, who packs a punch on melodeon and cello; and Cathy Mason from Swansea, whose guitar and cello gently floats above it all. After giving in to this mesmerising music, everything else is merely complementary.
Who would not like to get lost in the hypnotising view of a circus performer skilfully and lightly balancing on a tightrope? This is very much what The Foxglove Trio serve to their listeners through music – the perfect blend of melancholy and cheerfulness, the whole spectrum spanning from mystery to pleasant carelessness to playful jumpiness. It is difficult to believe that something so beautifully complicated seems so smooth and easy.
These Gathered Branches consists of twelve tracks, all British folk songs, two of which are sung in Welsh.
Do not get alarmed if while listening to ‘The Three Huntsmen’ you suddenly see yourself marching through the woods with your knees up high, or ceremoniously hiking through the high grass and wildflowers of Selar Hill during that eponymous track, shedding a tear or two over what has been irrecoverably lost. If while listening to ‘Stars and Bells’ you find your legs swinging from the crescent moon, do not worry. It happens.
This music is encapsulated by forest sounds and a foggy moon. Take it with you into the dark and rainy Bangor night and let it dissolve in your ears into the magic melodies of your heart-deep longings and wonders.
This is musical wizardry. You will be enchanted.
These Gathered Branches was released on 20th April, and is available at www.thefoxglovetrio.co.uk