Following on from their EP release, and having impressed festival audiences this year, Pilgrims’ Way release their debut full-length album.
Wayside Courtesies is a bold manifesto of a music full of respect for the tradition, and comfortable enough with it to change things around and produce an eclectic result.
Lucy Wright has a vibrant and engaging voice, whilst Tom and Edwin handle their multifarious instruments with skill and aplomb. It is also an unusual joy to hear the Jew’s Harp on a number of tracks.
The record begins with Only a Soldier, a song where the soldier in question does win the girl, and the fortune, and the grudging respect of his father-in-law!
Martinmas Time and Tarry Trousers, two quite different songs, share the theme of cross-dressing, which the band seem quite keen to pull out in the sleeve notes. Indeed, the notes are a wonderful insight into the playful attitude of the band. We also discover that 67% of the band agree that Young Men Are False.
At over nine minutes My Generous Lover/Det Tømte Mjødkruset is an epic combination. Both are tinged with sadness: My Generous Lover overtly so in the lyrics and performance. Det Tømte Mjødkruset appears upbeat and is certainly enjoyable, but translates as ’the empty jug of homebrew beer’; a sad thing indeed.
The outstanding tracks of the album are, in fact, both from the EP - Tarry Trousers and A Pilgrim’s Way. But that shouldn’t be a deflection from the quality and variety of the rest of the album. There is a good variety of light and shade, tragic and light-hearted and most certainly enough to keep the listener entertained.Liz Osman
Released by Fellside on 11th July 2011.
1. Only a Soldier
2. The Handweaver and The Factory Maid
3. Martinmas Time
4. Adieu Lovely Nancy
5. Young Men are False
6. Tarry Trousers
7. Alfaz del Pi
8. Dark Eyed Molly/Snowy Monday
9. My Generous Lover/Det Tømte Mjødkruset
10. A Pilgrim’s Way
11. Framus/Jig Iolo