Boomkat Product Review:
Another corker from the ever on-form Bo Weavil label this sees Espers members Meg Baird and Helena Espvall trading musical secrets with British (but now based in the USA) musician Sharron Kraus. The three ladies swapped songs over evenings of drink and laughter, with Baird and Espvall singing traditional Appalachian folk music and Kraus looking to her native England for inspiration. What has resulted is nine songs recorded in only one afternoon (to keep that slightly spontaneous feeling intact) taking in influence from both distinctive areas of traditional music. There's certainly been no shortage of modern folk acts in the last couple of years, but what sets 'Leaves from Off the Tree' apart from the competition is their distinctive heart. This feels like folk music as folk music was meant to be made - people documenting sounds and feelings because they actually love to. The Baird, Espvall and Kraus are friends first and foremost and that relationship translates perfectly to the record, acting as the guiding light over which the sound is laid. The album's opener 'Bruton Town' shows this perfectly as the voices raise playfully over guitar and cello - it sounds totally out of time and out of place and the warmth of the recording and sentiment is unavoidably inclusive. As the album progresses with it's mix of acapella and accompanied pieces the songs wrap themselves around you, I can imagine sitting around a fire in the countryside as a log-fire burns in the deep winter night listening to these tracks and allowing them to sink into the soul. Affecting and utterly beautiful, you'd be hard pressed to find a more honest and more delicately beautiful folk record this winter. Huge recommendation!
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