The Seeds of Love – Serious Sam Barrett (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

If you are an artist carrying a torch for the traditions of folk past whilst seeking to take that sound into a bright new future, as Serious Sam Barrett unquestionably is, then recording an album of music, in part inspired, drawn from and replicating songs found in a 1967 book published by The English Folk Dance and Song Society, seems the perfect move.

Seeds of Love, also the title of said book, is just such an album, a celebration of folk music past and an act that ensures that many of those songs are able to move forward with the genre.

Even the album’s original songs, such as the gloriously delivered opener Valentines Day, feel part of that canon that he calls on, the sound of the past meeting the present and all rendered in very recognisable, very traditional form, beautifully sparse, lightly adorned, deft and often delicate in their delivery.

Songs such as Drowsy Sleeper and Every Night Has An Ending sit at one end of the sonic spectrum, the latter an acapella “gallows pole” style song that highlights just what a perfect voice Barrett has for this style of music; warm, engaging and worldly. Elsewhere The Recruited Collier is accompanied by just the sparsest of chords and Blow Away The Morning Due, again only voice and guitar, builds its sonic weight only through some vigorous and intricate fretboard work.

It is an album most obviously aimed at the dyed-in-wool folky who will lap it up for its authenticity and perhaps a touch of sonic nostalgia but its freshness will also build bridges to audiences beyond that scene, such is the grace and engaging qualities that beat at the heart of this smart collection of songs. 

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