Music from the brilliant Sam Lee and Friends who gave a concert at Giving Voice 13, Falmouth April 2015
MOJO ****: It demands patient attention but it’s an album of unusual dignity and immense beauty
Q: A dream-like quality that’s as rare as it is compelling
Uncut: Lee’s album is tremendous, blessed with courtly, uncanny, subtly radical treatments. sounding at once ancient and, in a relatively original way, contemporary.
Songlines ***** Sam’s extraordinary and wonderful debut album.
Guardian **** : an impressively brave and original set
ES ***** : a shining and original talent
Independent **** : Lee’s voice captures the mythic charm of these songs, but it’s his arrangements, at once vivid yet shrouded, which set Ground of Its Own apart
Observer **** : its downbeat, trancelike mood is unwavering, the album has a gentle, insistent power
Independent on Sunday **** : It’s rather good
The new album from singer Sam Lee is a work several years in conception which brings together a multitude of experiences and influences for a musician who has cut an unique course in his artistic development. This 8-track release with mixes done by the legendary John Wood (of Nick Drake fame) comprises material gleaned from years of research and exploration into the forgotten songs and sounds of these Isles. ‘Ground Of Its Own’ brings together songs directly sourced from English Gypsy and Irish and Scottish Traveller communities until now unheard in the wider music world. Sam’s time has been spent learning their characterful and inimitable singing styles, and deep knowledge of the land and the relationships these songs have with their history and ancestry. With this experience at the albums core, many of our indigenous musical principals – such as traditional song having pulse but not always rhythm – have helped create a contemporary idea of how future folk music might sound. What ‘Ground Of Its Own’ sets out is a new method for the interpretation of folk song which seeks to honour this rich native art form whilst marrying it to a resourceful, contemporary approach that explores the tapestries of lost sounds and new sounds that surround us always. Expect compositions filled with Jew’s Harps, Hangs, Hammer Dulcimers, Alpine Horns, Auto Harps, Shruti Boxes and Gas Cylinders amongst many others but ultimately the voice and Sam’s passion for breathing new life in to these jewels on our doorstep. All combined, what is created is an album of depth and vitality that reaches to the absolute heart of the tradition in a respectful but highly modern manner.
Ground of Its Own is wonderful. The singing is sublime and exquisite! It’s gentle and despairing, trancelike and tender. Strokes of genius there I think! Shirley Collins
When Sam Lee makes this record public he’s going to find himself with a success story on his hands… Fiona Talkington, Late Junction
A wonderful singer and fascinating character. He’s working with musicians in a very interesting and unusual way, his arrangements are unlike anything anyone has ever really heard before. Joe Boyd
Well it feels like its been a long time coming but here at last is somebody doing really creative things with traditional English Folk Song from the ground breaking new album. Verity Sharp Radio 3 Late Junction