Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman make a welcome return to recording with their 2012 release Hidden People. Following their early success with Equation and two well-received albums as a duo in the early 2000s, Roberts & Lakeman have been busy with Sean’s involvement in brother Seth’s band and the raising of children, although their rare festival appearances have been eagerly anticipated and worth the wait.
Hidden People shows that the duo are back with a vengeance and in many ways better than ever. The production is slick and the largely traditional material well balanced. Kathryn’s thrilling vocals and Sean’s guitar work dominate and an impressive number of guest artists also contribute, ranging from Mark Chadwick (Levellers) to Jim Moray and Stu Hanna.
The highlight of the album is the magnificent The Ballad of Andy Jacobs , a poignant evocation of the human cost of the miner’s strike. The solo piano accompaniment perfectly fits the emotional punch of the vocals and the beautifully written lyrics.
The White Hind has an interesting multi-layered sound with many instruments and voices meshing together to create an eerie feel. Jackie’s Song closes the album and perhaps best highlights the effortless musical understanding and connection between the two artists, blending languorous guitar and compelling vocal storytelling.
An excellent return from a talented pair.
Navigator records, 2012
2. Oxford, N.Y
3. Money Or Jewels
4. Hang The Rowan
5. The Ballad Of Andy Jacobs
6. The White Hind
7. Lusty Smith
8. The Wisdom Of Standing Still
9. Standing At My Window
10. Jackie’s Song