Folk music is something that is slowly appealing to me, much of the appeal comes from hearing folk musicians live, it’s safe to say most music sounds better live, but there is something magnetic about live folk music. The genre seems to have widened to what is considered as folk over the last few decades, it’s no longer two bearded men with battered guitars drinking bitter from beer mugs.
Cornishman Andrew Hawkey’s new album, ‘Long Story Short’, sits in the traditional side of folk, there are the usual suspects of acoustic guitar, bass, banjo, steady drums and slide guitar but on occasion, it moves into other areas, also. The songs are well written and the lyrics poetic and reflective of a man in his seventh decade. We open with the beautiful ‘Dear Friend’ that would happily grace any folk night in the world, the musicianship is performed in such a way that what sounds simple is actually complicated and layered.
‘Golden Heart (On a Rusty Chain)’ and ‘Spirit’ has the feel of Americana with slide guitar and harmonica dips its toes into Country bar territory, this isn’t the knitted cardigan music you associate with folk. There is a hint of Don McLean on ‘Painter’, it’s not just the title drawing comparison to McLean’s ‘Vincent’ but the intricate guitar play and calming nature of the song. The album as a whole, feels unrushed and unmuddied, each instrument is heard clearly, would sit nicely in anyone’s folk collection and it benefits from the Americana influence.
I’ve lived with this album for a few weeks – it was released early April – and I’ve found myself coming back to it when I need some calming sounds and it grows with each listen. In such an uncertain time, it’s comforting to have something so reliable nearby.
If you’re already a paid-up member of the folk club (and I know there are millions of you) you are probably already aware of Andrew Hawkey, but if you’re new to folk or want music with a little more gravity, search this out.