Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker - Fire & Fortune

2013 studio album

Fire & Fortune - Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker

the bright young folk review

After Me - the first track on Fire and Fortune - with its gentle pace and faultless performances, immediately sets the scene for Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker’s new album.

This is a collection of songs that takes the listener on an exciting and expressive journey, celebrating and exploring the charm and intricacy of song writing and singing. Releasing their album on Navigator Records, Josienne and Ben join some well-loved names on the folk circuit today, bringing to the table their unique sound in twelve soothing and calmative tracks.

The duo are no strangers to the folk scene and their new release only confirms their remarkable musicianship, talent and ability to engage listeners with the most powerful and mesmerising of stories. It is a truly polished and elegant album ensuring that a hush falls over an attentive and absorbed audience.

Both Josienne and Ben are classically trained musicians and the selection of instruments which make an appearance, including: recorder, guitar, piano, percussion, fiddle and mandolin add texture and interest to the album.

The duo however, is careful not take too much attention away from the songs and vocals throughout the album. Instead, they ensure delicate instrumental sections and soft accompaniments which complement beautifully the gorgeous melodies and entrancing stories which are the heart of Fire and Fortune. When an instrument does creep into the spotlight, the listener is treated to the most accomplished of performances.

What we discover is that the album promotes first and foremost the importance of song and Josienne is to be applauded for her sensitive and delicate handling of some of the finest lyrics and words in traditional music.

She sings with honesty and the technical elements of her performances are flawless. The listener admires a seemingly effortless delivery of intricate and unusual melodies which is given a distinctive character by her impressive range and tone.

Fire and Fortune combines self-penned words with more recognisable interpretations of older songs. In doing so, the two are careful not to disrupt the balance and serenity of the album with their own compositions, choosing instead to mirror in their original pieces, the fragility and creativity we would find in the oldest of songs. The duo’s interpretation of My Love is Like A Red Red Rose recaptures the beauty of the original poem with sublime guitar arrangements and a tender delivery of the well-loved lyrics.

A triumph of an album. Josienne and Ben bring to Fire and Fortune their youth and passion whilst displaying a mature and careful handling and treatment of traditional music. As such, it well worth a listen.

Rebekah Foard

Released 22nd July 2013 on Navigator Records.

1. After Me
2. The Month Of January
3. The Seasons
4. Another Perfect Love
5. My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose
6. Sycamore Tree
7. Fire and Fortune
8. Green Grow The Laurels
9. Anyone But Me
10. A Pauper And A Poet
11. No Such Certainty
12. When A Knight Won His Spurs

Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker discography