WILD & WICKED YOUTH - KIM LOWINGS & THE GREENWOOD
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
- Artist: Kim Lowings & The Greenwood
- Release Date: 8th September, 2017
- Genre: Folk
- Record Label: Greenwood Records
- Tracks: 12
- Website: https://www.kimlowings.com/
- Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)
Wild & Wicked Youth is the wonderful third album by Stourbridge’s folk singer-songwriter Kim Lowings and her band The Greenwood. It continues to build on the excellent progress already made by her previous albums 'This Life' and 'Historia' and I think it is her best collection of music so far.
Kim is joined on the album by father Andrew on guitar, bouzouki and bodhran, Dave Sutherland on double bass and Tim Rogers on cajon and percussion. Also joining them are Lewis Jones on Melodeon and Shannon Johnson & Ami Oprenova on violin.
Wild & Wicked Youth is a great mix of self penned songs and traditional material all with high quality arrangements and musicianship. It features songs of the sea, soul searching, murder, treachery, triumph, love lost and love gained and a lively girl's night out.
The album begins with the siren song 'In Spirit', a tale about a young woman who commits suicide and is cursed to return as a ghost luring men to their deaths. The very catchy tune and upbeat arrangement in true traditional folk traditional is an interesting contrast to the fairly dark subject matter.
Another upbeat song is 'Oyster Girl'. It’s a playful tale of a French tourist being duped in by a pretty oyster seller. He rents a pub bedroom to have some fun, only to find she has robbed him blind of all his money and left him with the oysters and the basket. On a positive note she does pay for the room. On the slightly Americana flavoured intro of 'Farewell My Love So' Dave Sutherland and Andrew Lowings provide a deep droning chant. The song then changes to a more jazzier almost prog folk piece with it's percussive rhythms and deep double bass lines. One of my favourites on the album is the lively 'The Cuckoo' , a familiar traditional folk cover. Kim's vocals are perfect for the song, swooping over driving percussion and the wonderful upbeat fiddle arrangements and playing by Shannon Johnson.
The wonderful 'The Tortoise and the Hare' is about being cautious and biding your time in relationships, advising to 'look before you leap' and skillful weaving in the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. Matters of the heart and staying true to yourself also form the central premise of 'Firestone', a beautiful piano led reflective soul searching ballad. The up-tempo, infectious toe-tapper 'Wyle Cop & The Wonderful Mr Clark' with it's bright jig melody provided by Ami Oprenova is another live favourite. Lewis Jones on melodeon joins the band for the nautical Norfolk love song 'Bold Riley' also made famous by Kate Rusby and The Oysterband. Another popular live favourite is 'Oh The Wind and Rain' a murder ballad more popularly known as 'The Two Sisters'. It features Shannon Johnson on violin and the dark themed lyrics once again in contrast to the bouncy upbeat tune. Georje Holper’s feisty girls night out 'Away Ye Merry Lassies' is another audience friendly stomp that's has been part of the band's live set for some while. Another popular traditional folk song is 'The Newry Highwayman' recounting the tale of a ‘roving blade’ who turns to crime robbing only from the rich. It’s another excellent number and it is from the songs lyrics that the album takes its name. This wonderful album ends very fittingly with the piano ballad 'Fly Away'. It's another of my favourite songs from Kim and the band and it's beautifully crafted. It song ends with the chorus of the traditional gospel song 'I’ll Fly Away', with all the band joining in on backing vocals. It's a wonderful lullaby from a parent to a child.
If you would like your own personal copy of the album, you can purchase it from the link below from only £7.99 or directly from Kim's website.