Inlay’s latest album, Forge, is an excellent English folk offering, delivering old and new tunes and songs, laced with traditional overtones melded into a collection that shines as bright as burnished silver.
Band members Ross Grant (violin/vocals), James Porter (guitar/vocals), Nick Sánchez-Ray (banjo/bansitar) and Andy Weeks (accordion/percussion/vocals) clearly take great care in writing and arranging, such that each track is worthy of recognition.
In Weeks’ The Road To Varanasi, written during a rail trip in Northern India, the music takes the listener to the sights, scenes and smells of the journey, picking up and slowing down, transporting the listener as it goes. The clever use of accordion and fiddle to complement the bansitar evidences Inlay’s musical storytelling skill.
As the tune progresses, an English country dance theme is introduced, grounding the whole tune back into a local traditional setting. At almost 8 minutes in length, it is an absolute treat of a journey.
Pete & Loz’ is a set of two tunes written by Grant; the first to celebrate a friend’s wedding and the second a waltz written for his mother. Both tunes exude a fine English traditional folk pedigree with meandering fiddle, warm accordion-guitar accompaniment and banjo. This set has a very traditional session feel, warm and welcoming as an open fire, and just as enjoyable.
Taking a Playford tune from the 1600, with lyrics from the 1800s and successfully marrying them to a new waltz demonstrates Inlay’s ability to fashion and mould old with new whilst still respecting and retaining tradition. This is the story in Love Will Find Out The Way where Weeks’ waltz, Love, seamlessly joins the song of the title. The result is as delightful as it is admirable.
Inspired by experiences at Sidmouth Folk Festival, Weeks’ Devonshire Dales begins melancholic before quickly picking up into a joyous tune, capturing the spirit, diversity and joy of the Sidmouth jamboree, each instrument having their opportunity to lead the celebrations. This is another extended track telling a folk-rich musical story, imparting real emotion, texture, sound and pictures.
In Forge, Inlay wanted “to get back to nature to shape and fold the music that we love so much". They are intelligent, creative and inspired, and their passion and love of traditional music is palpable in every track.
Their skill in preserving the old whilst seamlessly melding with the new is reassurance that, in Inlay, there is a band that will both protect and preserve traditions whilst creating exciting and lasting new ones. A tremendous new album.Andy McMillan
Released on Inlay Music UK on 28 October 2016.
Produced by Inlay.
1. Pete & Loz’
2. Penberry Hill
3. Lovely On The Water
5. Make Your Mark
6. The Tube Set
7. Love Will Find Out The Way
8. The Road To Varanasi
9. Devonshire Dales