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Lady Maisery
01. Sing For The Morning
02. Quiet Joys of Brotherhood
03. Honest Work
04. Season I - The sun Returns
05. Bagpipers / Sheila's 7
06. A Father's Lullaby
07. Season II - Beautiful Leaves
08. So Far
09. Diggers' Song
10. Eostre
11. Order & Chaos
12. Season III - The winter of Life
13. Land on the Shore

In the 3 years since Lady Maisery's acclaimed second album Mayday was released, Hannah James has toured her pioneering solo show Jigdoll and collaborated with Estonian accordion virtuoso Tuulikki Bartosik, Hazel Askew made critically acclaimed album In The Air or the Earth as half of The Askew Sisters, and Rowan Rheingans won her first BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Original Track as part of The Rheingans Sisters, whose album Already Home (2015) was one of the most celebrated folk albums of last year. As a band, Lady Maisery have toured across Europe, travelled to the USA as an Official Showcase artist at Folk Alliance International and performed a contemporary classical secular requiem composed especially for them. All three have also been part of 10 piece supergroup Songs of Separation, whose stunning premiere at this year's Celtic Connections festival pushed their debut album straight into the indie album charts Top 20, a very rare accolade in British Folk. In the midst of all this, Lady Maisery have made their third album, songs from which had their first official outing on the main stage at Cambridge Folk Festival earlier this summer. What has emerged from this period of sustained, diverse creativity is Cycle, a unified, passionate and powerful third album; at times a coruscating critique of post-Cameron Britain, at others a call for harmony with the land and a meditation on life, death and belonging. Featuring original compositions by Rheingans, Askew and James, alongside traditional material and some other surprising sources, Cycle is an album that focuses on what Lady Maisery understands as the essential elements of human shared experience. Following on from the somewhat darker political themes in Mayday, this is an album that celebrates being human. It is itself a journey which looks both backwards and forwards; it is an album of new songs and newly crafted old songs which together tell stories of life's journey; its different stages, its challenges, its losses and its ever returning cycles. It is in many ways a more hopeful album than Mayday, but no less political as the sleeve notes themselves explain: "this is our contribution to a living and breathing song tradition that helps to better understand each other, our place in the world and can give us strength to find a way forward when the path divides or the cycle appears to be broken." Lady Maisery, a well established band as well as being made up of three of the most innovative individual artists working on the British folk scene, have produced in Cycle a staggering demonstration of not only the full extent of their musical powers and considerable creative ambition but also of themselves as nuanced, intelligent, authentic and important contributors to the political, socially and environmentally engaged movement in contemporary folk music. As well as newly written songs, Cycle showcases Lady Maisery's ever original and refreshing takes on traditional material and they also tackle songs by Richard Farina and, remarkably, Todd Rundgren. It is in his 'Honest Work' that Cycle finds its centre; a political, compassionate lament for the everyman in the post-industrial era. Another highlight is Askew's 'Order & Chaos', a remarkable new song that cuts straight to the heart of human loss, death and grief through the honest and simple telling of complex earthly experience. Throughout this album, Lady Maisery's harmonies are as precise and innovative as ever, burnished with a newfound richness and confidence in their characteristically playful approach. Their diddling (tune-singing) remains their signature move, at once a glorious party-piece and a slice of lost cultural heritage reborn, it has shifted and matured over the years into a bright expression of their innate musicality. 'Sheila's 70', a James original dedicated to her auntie on her birthday [track 5] which features the Lady Maisery impressive 'full band' sound of three voices, three instruments and foot percussion is already proving the highlight of their live sets this summer. Produced by Lady Maisery themselves, alongside Dylan Fowler (also at the helm for The Rheingans Sisters' Already Home) in Wales and mastered by Minerva Pappi in Helsinki, Cycle is accompanied by a remarkable set of Art Nouveau-inspired illustrations by Kathleen Neeley and Thomas Shahan. The keen-eyed fan will discover a whole host of clever references, among them hazel and rowan leaves as well as echoes of the William Morris patterns that are hidden in the artwork for both Mayday (2013) and Weave and Spin (2011).     


October 2016

Lady Maisery - Cycle

Lady Maisery

CD (Cat No: 325677)

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Lady Maisery - Cycle

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