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Henry Parker/Meadowsilver - Under the Radar

  by Keith How

published: 8 / 11 / 2019

Henry Parker/Meadowsilver - Under the Radar


In this edition of 'Under the Radar' Keith How unearths more treasures from the quieter corners of our musical landscape - a talented singer/songwriter and an inspiring new collaboration of psych/folkers.

I recently discovered a fine new record by a young man by the name of Henry Parker. 'Silent Spring' kept popping up on my Instagram feed along with a Bandcamp link. "I think this is right up my street," was my thought, so I had a listen, and my thoughts were proved correct: 'Silent Spring' is absolutely brilliant. Parker is one of many young British performers who are looking to the past to find a way forward. The obvious influences here are Bert Jansch and Davy Graham but Henry Parker has very much forged his own path. Along with his folk style he infuses a sweet jazz/blues vibe to the proceedings. The ghosts of the folk revival era of the 1960s and '70s hang heavy in the air as you marvel at the fluid guitar work and the addition of a flute, double bass and drums along with his introverted vocals make 'Silent Spring' irresistible. The echoes of the history are clearly displayed on the title track: Parker captures the essence of the heady days of Jansch and Pentangle, infusing his own meaningful message into this beautiful evocation, his fluid electric guitar adding that special emotional touch that threads its way throughout the record. A special mention to the instrumental 'Marbled Wren' which reflects the joy of walking along the Leeds/Liverpool canal near his home. This is something I have come to also enjoy on my regular visits to Bingley in the last few years. Henry captures the atmosphere perfectly, his flowing fingerstyle reflecting sunlight through trees and reflecting on the waters. "Silent Spring" is a treasure. Ignore this album at your peril. And meanwhile on the edges of the Wildwood, three strands of the wyrd/psychedelic/experimental folk scene have become woven together in the form of Gayle Brogan (Pefkin), Grey Malkin (Widow’s Weeds) and Stephen Stannard (Rowan Amber Mill). The resulting collaboration is called Meadowsilver. Mysterious and beguiling, they are producing some of the most inventive and progressive "folk" music you will come across. The third single 'The Coronation of the Herring Queen' is the completion of a trilogy of songs that float like morning mist among the silver birch trees at the Nine Ladies Stone Circle. Ethereal and gently paced cinematic melodies conjure up a sense of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'The Wicker Man'. As with any good faerie story there hangs a hint of quiet menace. Pastoral and transcendent and fuelled by guitars, synths, woodwind and Gayle Brogan’s haunting vocals, Meadowsilver are like nothing you have heard before. Great music for Autumn listening.

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Henry Parker/Meadowsilver - Under the Radar

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