Tales From the Weeping Willow sees Naomi Bedford introduce us to four centuries’ of songs, traditional, self-penned and contributions from (amongst others) Paul Heaton, David Rotheray (both The Beautiful South) and Justin Currie (Del Amitri).
Opening track Daddy’s Got a Gun sounds like a classic slice of Americana, but in fact is based on the tragedy of an Essex family. This juxtaposition is present throughout the album, with tunes and lyrics confounding expectations on many occasions.
Naomi has had an interest in murder ballads since she was a child, and this comes through in her beautiful rendition of Lord Thomas and Fair Ellendor, where her lyrical story-telling is reminiscent of Maddy Prior or June Tabor at times.
This passion for murder ballads also led to Justin Currie writing My Love is Deep for Naomi. The low-fi, dirty sound of the track fits wonderfully with the familiar notions of a murdered lover desirous of revenge.
There are lighter moments too to the album, but really the darker side of life is where Naomi’s voice sounds more haunting and intriguing, and where the instrumental arrangements are unique.Liz Osman
October 2011 release on Dusty Willow Recordings
1. Daddy’s Got a Gun
3. One of a Kind
4. The Willow Garden
5. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
6. My Love is Deep
7. Lord Thomas and Fair Ellendor
8. Railroad Bill
9. The Ferry Boat Inn
10. The Clouds of Colwyn Bay
11. The Death of Queen Jane