01. John Lomas
02. The Bold Knight
03. Fight for Favour
04. Farewell My Love
05. Blood Upon Copper
06. Henry Clark
07. The Storm
08. Cape Clear
09. The Ballad of Josie
10. The Streamers
11. Kitty Jay

Seth Lakeman – Kitty Jay


‘Kitty Jay’ is a collection of songs written and inspired by the stories and legends of Seth’s birthplace and home of Dartmoor – it’s an ambitious disc that attempts to capture the spirit and atmosphere of the wilderness of the moor.  Ambitious it may be but he’s certainly succeeded.  Over the 11 tracks he creates an impressively dark and brooding atmosphere, but this is contrasted by lighter and sweeter passages spread throughout – it’s a disc that feels natural and balanced.

No matter how many times you hear the disc, it’s dominated by the dramatic title track – it’s a fantastic song with a forceful and sweeping violin backing that tells of the legend of Kitty Jay, a pregnant servant girl who killed herself in shame and was buried on the moor and to this day fresh flowers are mysteriously left on her grave – it’s a stunning track with a palpable sense of atmosphere.  Other standouts include ‘The Bold Knight’, a beautifully constructed song with a great melody that tells of an injured knight lying on the moor; and ‘The Streamers’ which is based on the trad song ‘The Streams of Lovely Nancy’, it’s a relatively light and serene song with a strong melody and it’s a great way to close the album.  ‘The Streamers’ is one of 4 traditional songs on the disc while the remaining 7 are all Lakeman originals, the two link together seamlessly, and without checking the liner notes you’d never notice the joins.

While Seth definitely has his roots in English folk, his style is expansive and original, much like Richard Thompson and Nic Jones in their prime, and like those artists his work really stands out from the crowd as being different to almost everything else currently around.

While his own violin/viola playing is an ever-present on the disc, there’s a real variety of instrumentation from the assembled musicians who include Harper Simon (Paul Simon’s son), Benji Kirkpatrick, and Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman.

‘Kitty Jay’ is an exceptionally strong and individual album with an organic and unforced atmosphere that really suits the songs, and it’s easy to enjoy but with lots to offer over repeated listens.  A distinct album and one not to be missed – highly recommended.


CD (Cat No: 12834)

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