Guardian music journalist Will Hodgkinson has just published a new book, The Ballad Of Britain, which sees him travel round the UK in a beat-up car meeting some of the country’s most eccentric folk musicians. From morris dancing freaks in Oxford to reclusive songwriters in Cornwall and the ashes of the Beta Band in Scotland he finds some unusual – and unusually talented – people and it’s well worth a read. He made field recordings as he went and Heron Recordings are putting out the CD.
One of his best gems, though, was Cate Le Bon, a vaguely psychedelic folk singer so good she inspired Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys to form his own label and put her music out. “The only problem being” Gruff tells me, “that the highly original, strong songwriting coupled with the spartan production has set a really high bar for any future release on [his label] Irony Bored”.
She’s supported him on tour and also provided vocals for Neon Neon’s ‘I Lust U’ and we’ve had two of her own efforts on rotation in the office. The forthcoming album’s title track ‘Me Oh My’ comes across like Joni backed by SFA’s surreal synths while this track is more of an electric guitar-propelled freak-folk affair.
Download Cate Le Bon‘s Hollow Trees House Hounds here
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Cate Le Bon’s MySpace is here and she’s currently on tour with Slow Club, before supporting SFA in Manchester on Oct 16th and playing the mighty Swn festival on the 24th.