It’s 45 years since Liege & Lief almost single-handedly created the genre folk-rock. Since then, that simple marriage of traditional music and electric instruments had been suborned and sidetracked, dissected and documented, Oystered, Albioned and Steeleyed.
Time for a fresh approach. Enter TRADarrr.
Punningly recalling the assault of the new which Fairport’s 1969 LP represented, they have reimagined folk rock, painting from a much larger palette, introducing the tints, tones and textures of a whole panoply of musical genres. As you’d expect, here are the precision percussion, searingly tasteful guitars, melodic basses and fiery fiddles that one associates with the genre. But in addition, one finds brass in truly British styles – the dazzling brightness of Purcell, the oomph of Elgar, the emotive richness of a Yorkshire brass band soloist - but also hints of jazz, trad and modern, and even the occasional mariachi riff, string sections, and countless astute references to a long legacy of pop and rock in its many forms.
However, this is by no means an “everything including the kitchen sink” approach. Elements are used sparingly, tellingly and, most important of all, appropriately. When less is more, the sound is stripped back – listen to their almost acapella take on My Lagan Love and no further explanation is needed. Many of the songs and tunes they perform are familiar classics. Many are simply gems from the tradition that band members have always wanted to perform - could there be a better reason for singing a song?
After the success of their first album, Cautionary Tales, work has finished on the band's second album, 'Further Tales of Love! Treachery! and Death!' which has been released through Proper Records with radio airplay including BBC Radio 2's Folk Show.
Photo by Markus Scheidtweiler - Germany 2019