Jim Causley - Devonia

2021 studio album

Devonia - Jim Causley

the bright young folk review

Devonia is the latest element of Jim Causley’s Devon trilogy. A double CD including 40 traditional songs, poems and melodies from his native county, it was recorded, like the previous chapter, with some great West Country folk stars such as Matt Norman and Nick Wyke.

The work has been conceived to include some old favourites, mostly from the Sabine Baring-Gould collection, and some lesser-known songs that were impossible to include in Devonshire Roses.

Many of these pieces have been written or collected during the late Victorian, the Edwardian and the pre-World War I period and have been not heard for more than a century. The connection with Devon is evident from a first look through the titles, many of which have direct references to the county. Not only to the popular Dartmoor area, but also to towns and villages such as Chagford, Dunkeswell, Oxenham, Kingsbridge and Brixham.

Stylistically, this release follows the steps of its predecessor. Causley’s versatile accordions and piano playing, gracefully underpinned by fiddle, mandolin, whistles and brass instruments, effortlessly carries the songs and the funny, dramatic or suggestive images they depict.

As in the previous chapters of the trilogy, there is a sparkling mix of jolly and light-hearted songs, such as Keeper of the Eddystone Light, Bren’ Cheese an’ Zider and Bellever Hunt, and more haunting and lyrical ones. Take for example Oxen Ploughing or The Westernland, the latter closing the album on a high.

Stand out tracks, just to name a few, are One April Morning, a fitting opener for the first disc, the beautifully delivered Cottage Well Thatched with Straw and the Long and enticing Margaret of Oxenham, based on a 1635 detailed report of a supernatural fact that occurred in South Sale.

A generous collection of traditional material to be handed down, a folkie travel guide to Devon and a chance to visit the different corners of the county from a living room, Devonia is a new success for Causley and his unique way of portraying his native county.

Michele Mele

Released on 2 November 2021, produced by Jim Causley

Disc 1
1. One April Morning
2. Bren’ Cheese an’ Zider
3. The Oxen Ploughing
4. When Mother and Me Joined In
5. The Merry Haymakers
6. Rolling in the Dew
7. Chagford Show
8. Ye Men of Devon
9. Rosemary Lane
10. Craftsmen of the Moor
11. Please Don’t Send the Devonshires Away
12. Drake’s Drum
13. Saint Boniface Day
14. The Wife of Dunkeswell
15. The Dilly Song
16. Chap From the Country
17. Hunting the Hare
18. Mortal Unlucky Old Chap
19. Farewell to Kingsbridge
20. The Evening Prayer

Disc 2
1. Adam the Poacher
2. Brixham Town
3. Heavitree Wassail
4. Cottage Well Thatched with Straw
5. Margaret of Oxenham
6. Bellever Week
7. The Gallant Hussar
8. Outward Bound
9. Jolly Goss Hawk
10. Down ’Pon Ole Dartimoor
11. Cold Haily Night
12. Keeper of the Eddystone Light
13. Down ’Ome Kirton Town
14. That Quare Vaylin’
15. The Wonnerful Wise Man O’Tawton
16. Dartmoor POW Medley
17. Songs to Lydia
18. Devonshire Cream and Cider
19. Devonshire Girls
20. The Westernland

Jim Causley discography