William Dart investigates the state of contemporary cool, with recent folk or folkish releases by Taylor Swift, Peggy Seeger and The Unthanks.
Taylor Swift's evermore is very much a follow-on from her previous Folklore outing, released less than six months previously; and, once again, it’s an unexpected and extremely fruitful collaboration with the The National's Aaron Dessner.
It was a project that came about, according to Swift, when the pair found themselves standing on the edge of folklorian woods with two choices — to either turn and go back or travel further into the forest of that music.
The remarkably spry American songwriter Peggy Seeger has just given us her First Farewell album at the age of 85.
She is the surviving member of the Seeger siblings, with Mike passing away in 2009 and Pete in 2014. Like her brothers, she's always been drawn to songs with messages, but delivered without rancour or tub-thumping. This new album is a terrific collection of songs on an expected range of targets.
The Unthanks have the admirable knack of making you feel that you’re sitting in a comfy armchair enjoying a family parlour concert.
Their latest release is one in their Diversions series, the fifth in a line-up that includes tribute albums for Nick Drake’s mother Molly and songwriters Anthony Hegarty and Robert Wyatt.
This one is a collection of Live and Unaccompanied songs, in which the sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank are joined in a cappella glory by Niopha Keegan, thanking their regular band members for sitting this one out.
It’s a garland of eclectic joys from its opening Connie Converse song to its closing farewell shanty.
'Song title' (Composer) – Performers
'Something Cool' (Christy) – Ruth Cameron
'Cool' (Sivan) – Troye Sivan
'Moon Dreams' (MacGregor, Mercer) – Miles Davis
The Birth of the Cool
'Willow' (Swift, Dessner) – Taylor Swift
'Coney Island' (Swift et al) – Taylor Swift Feat. The National
'No Body, No Crime' (Swift) – Taylor Swift Feat. HAIM
'Marjorie' (Swift) – Taylor Swift
'Lullabye for the Times' (Seeger) – Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger
New Briton Gazette Vol 2, ex Six Classic Albums
'The Invisible Woman' (Seeger, MacColl) – Peggy Seeger
'Lubrication' (Seeger) – Peggy Seeger
'My Laddie Sits Ower Late Up' (The Unthanks) – The Unthanks
'Socks' (The Unthanks) – The Unthanks
Lines, Pt 2: World War One
'Bees (Honeybee; The Bee Boy Song)' (Converse; Kipling, Bellamy) – The Unthanks
Diversions Vol 5: Live and Unaccompanied