A relatively new entrant to the folk scene, Thom Ashworth already made quite an impact with his first EP Everybody’s Gone to The Rapture at the start of 2017. Now he is back with a second and the elements that ensured his first release stood out from the crowd - his distinctive tenor vocals and stripped-back minimalist accompaniment from his acoustic bass guitar - equally apply to the second, Hollow.
Comprising four tracks, two are traditional songs and the other two are written by Ashworth himself. Of the traditional material, High Germany is the song about the War of The Spanish Succession, performed by Martin Carthy, The Dubliners and others over the years. Here it is turned into a rousingly defiant protest song as Ashworth delivers lines like “Oh cursed be the cruel wars that ever they should rise” accompanied by his trademark guitar sounds and powerfully rhythmic percussion.
The title track, meanwhile, is one of Ashworth’s own songs and is altogether a more mournful and sombre affair with eerily atmospheric accompaniment. The other original song, rispin’s War,picks up the anti-war theme of the first track.
Paean to the working man and woman,Work Life Out To Keep Life In,rounds the EP off in fine form and perhaps hints that Ashworth may well turn out to be the Billy Bragg for the mid twenty-first century.
This release is another clear demonstration that Thom Ashworth is a folk singer with important things to say and a unique way of saying it.Darren Johnson
Self-released on 5 November 2017.
1. High Germany
3. Crispin’s Day
4. Work Life Out To Keep Life In