I’m not really a traditional folk music fan. The time worn image of a beardy bloke jamming a finger in his ear and singing about his black dog never appealed. I sometimes go along to folk clubs to play, because that’s where acoustic guitarists can sometimes be found, but I can’t singalong to “Wild Rover” . It’s just not me. It’s just too cosy (and I know real folk fans will have a go at this perception, but, if it isn’t, show me, I am interested). As a consequence, if you were to draw a Venn diagram, with “Folk Music” in the centre, I would generally be missing out on the over-lapping extraneous circles, too.
I’m aware of the “stars” but still don’t seek them out much. There, a confession from a music nut. You just can’t listen to everything.
I have been prompted, twice, in as many days, however, to seek out Karine Polwart’s new album, her fifth, “Traces”. I was aware of her standing in folk worlds but I’ve already said that I’m not really in the loop.
As usual, Wikipedia has it all about Karine so I’m not going to reiterate that here, except to say that on first listening “Traces” is superb.
There is a uniqueness about Karine’s music that makes you sit up and listen. There’s some exploration going on. The subject matter is broad – love and loss, life, politics and current affairs – all on one album. Her lyrics are perceptive and striking.
I would write a more detailed review but somehow feel that, as Jerry would say, the music should speak for itself, and in this case, certainly does itself more justice than I could with a wordy interpretation.
Watch this and do your own investigations. It’s well worth it.