I’ve often thought of Eliza Carthy as the headmaster’s daughter of folk music, that one person who works hard but also gets the breaks that others may not due to patronage and position. I’m not complaining, that is just the way that the world works and if it didn’t maybe albums such as Bottle wouldn’t ever get made. Folk music is a heavily policed genre with a lot of traditionalists acting like a musical militia to keep it on what they see as the straight and narrow and I can’t think of many other artists who are permitted to push the boundaries and flaunt the rules as flagrantly as Eliza Carthy. And for that I thank her.
This recording is the result of her pairing up for recent tours with long-term friend Tim Eriksen and it is exactly what the genre needs at the moment. With the current assimilation of folk music by indie bands for purely fashionable purposes, this album proves that change comes from the inside, from those who know the genre, not from the likes of Mumford and The Whale who think by adopting the trappings of cardigan and beard they can plunder its rich heritage to shore up record sales to city types and ironic hipsters.
Bottle is a brilliant combination of Carthys’ folk credentials and Eriksens genre-hopping eclecticism, the result a rootsy hybrid of Americana and Anglicana that mixes tradition and modern experimentation. Timeless fiddle lines spar with fuzzed up electric guitar, continents are crossed at a stride and centuries of tradition are dragged kicking and screaming into the future. They say rules are made to be broken but I would add that only by knowing the law inside-out can you know which ones to break to maximum effect.