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Magpies - Tidings

  by Zena Grieg

published: 13 / 7 / 2020

Magpies - Tidings
Label: Corvus
Format: CD


Intriguing and unpredictable debut album from all-female Yorkshire bluegrass group the Magpies

The all-female Yorkshire band the Magpies have just released their debut album ‘Tidings’. Originally a duo in 2017, featuring singer Bella Gaffney and mandolinist Polly Bolton, the line-up expanded to include cellist Sarah Smout and violinist Holly Brandon, becoming The Magpies in early 2019. Labelling themselves as “Celtic Bluegrass fusion”, they named their debut album after the collective noun for a group of magpies. Mixing traditional style country music with their own originals, the ten-track LP is full of songs exploring uniquely female experiences in unpredictable and surprising ways, the material deeply rooted in the traditions of their native Yorkshire. Themes include transformation and sorcery in the traditional ballad ‘The Two Magicians’, lost love, murder and suicide in ‘Run River Run’, and dealing with isolation, grief and madness in ‘The Golden Girl’, set in the bleak, beautiful Yorkshire Dales during the mining boom of the 19th century. Sleekly mastered by Jon Astley (Fairport Convention, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones), this debut collection sparkles with a range of musical styles, moving confidently from the Celtic influence in ‘The Two Magicians’, ‘Galway Shawl’ and ‘Foss Island’ to the Appalachians in ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘No More Tears’, with Polly Bolton’s bouzuki infusing a Balkan flavour to the songs. The album’s closer ‘Balls to the Wall’ is a musical tour-de-force, taking the listener on a journey through traditional Celtic music, Americana and Eastern folk. With its eclectic instrumentation, featuring all four band members on mandolin, guitar, fiddle, cello, bouzuki and banjo, the album weaves an engaging tapestry of sound that is at once contemporary and unexpected. Rich in variety, ‘The Tidings’ showcases the Magpies’ considerable ability to blend vocals and instrumentation, marking an accomplished and intriguing debut.

Track Listing:-
1 The Two Magicians
2 Catharsis
3 Run River Run
4 Rock of Ages
5 Foss Island
6 No More Tears
7 Shuffle Set
8 Galway Shawl
9 Golden Girl
10 Balls to the Wall

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