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Isembard’s Wheel - Common Ground

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 8 / 5 / 2017

Isembard’s Wheel - Common Ground
Label: 603864 Records
Format: CD


Promising and inventive debut album from energetic Sheffield-based folk outfit Isembard's Wheel

Sheffield-based Isembard’s Wheel have been building a following and a reputation in their home town and at folk festivals around the country in the last couple of years. Their energetic and exciting blend of traditional and contemporary folk music takes inspiration from bands like Show of Hands and the Imagined Village. Great musicians, a charismatic lead singer and some excellent song writing all adds up to a band that is destined for great things. Back in 2013 they released their first EP, 'Autumn in Eden'. 'Common Ground' is their first full album, packed with nine songs and five bonus tracks. A wealth of material, some of it traditional, much of it written by band members Alex Isembard and Ed Young. There are great harmonies and interesting arrangements. They have found their own ‘common ground’ as a group of musicians and their songs champion the workers, the maligned and the dispossessed as well as praising the romantic beauty of the landscape and the natural world. There’s even a song about a highwayman, written by Alex Isembard in honour of his ancestor, Gloucester Gaol. Ed Young’s arrangements of traditional songs 'Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy' and 'The Union Miners', put the Isembard’s Wheel stamp on familiar tunes. He has written and takes the lead vocal on 'Ask the Time Away' and 'Horse on the Hill'. Alex Isembard’s songwriting is distinctive and impressive, including 'Durham Tower Song', 'The Field Singer', 'Sowain Tul', 'Turner’s Bones' and 'Avalon'. The bonus tracks were recorded in the upstairs room of a Sheffield pub, in front of an enthusiastic audience, and they capture the swashbuckling, foot stomping energy of a live performance in true folk club style. They include 'Gloucester Gaol', 'The Cliffs' and the soaring 'Skylarks' from the first EP, as well as reprising 'The Union Miners' and 'The Field Singer'. This is an album packed with promise, full of ‘songs for restless souls.’ These songs tell great stories. At the album launch I got chatting to a couple who had come out of curiousity. She had found an Isembard’s Wheel t-shirt in a charity shop, liked it and bought it. She had then looked up the band on the internet, found a version of The Cliffs, enjoyed the music and so they turned up for the gig. There’s something very folky, very ‘common ground’ about this story and this is a collection of songs that will appeal to fans old and new.

Track Listing:-
1 Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy
2 D.T.S. (Durham Tower Song)
3 The Field Singer
4 Ask the Time Away
5 Sowain Tul
6 The Union Miners
7 Horse on the Hill
8 Turner's Bones
9 Avalon
10 Gloucester Gaol (Live)
11 The Cliffs (Live)
12 Skylarks (Live)
13 The Union Miners (Live)
14 The Field Singer (Live)

Band Links:-

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