Steve Folk is a rare breed of songwriter that leaves nothing hidden nor shrouded from view. His songs, beautifully constructed paeans of life's trials and tribulations, are always delivered with unflinching honesty. Folk by name, 'folk' by nature as what runs through these eleven thoughtful vignettes is a rare ability to magnify personal matters of the heart whilst communicating everyday themes and universal sentiment to a listener without judgement. Folk has a heart of gold, that although sometimes pained and crushingly fragile, it's one that beats with emblazoned love and gentle compassion. For Departure, Folk's fifth album, the riverboat dwelling songwriter and rising artist delivers an enchanting album and undoubted career highlight bringing together some songs from his past and some brand new recordings.
Setting the tone beautifully for the rest of the album, the opening "Amnesia" and with it memories of a life past and painful plea to an unknown future - "You can take all my things but don't take my mind, you can break all my limbs but leave my brain behind" - is enchanting and achingly sad, a trademark of Folk, who has a real ability to play havoc with the senses and emotions. "My Wife, the River" honors two of the things in Folk's life that have remained solid and dependable when everything else crumbles around him - his partner and his home, the river - while one of his older compositions "No Net Curtains in New York" casts him as voyeur rather than protagonist as the lives of city dwellers play out in front of his inquisitive gaze - "Soap opera view, cliffhanging truths and life affirming talks, domestic trials seen and heard...."
Personal questions of belief and responsibility are brought to the fore on the powerful duo "Faith" and "Big River" - If there ever was a god he'd be looking down on you and thinking who and what he ever gave earth to - giving way to altogether darker themes of self-awareness and worth on the emphatic and hard-hitting "Immortal", very much the cornerstone of this whole album - "Every book you have read about the past that is my life." There is light too, non more so than in the melancholic surrender of "Littlehampton", at once charming and quintessential Folk.
For the album Folk has assembled a small band of musicians who expertly and deftly add color and hue to these songs, bringing them alive and enhancing their charm. A particular mention for Ian Melrose, whose carefully crafted guitar and dobro playing is a real joy in itself.
A troubadour in every sense of the word, Folk has spent the last number of years travelling back and forth to mainland Europe, where he has become a much-loved performer on the house concert scene. His dry, deadpan delivery and candid persona has endeared himself to a growing audience of music lovers. The 'what you see is what you get' honesty holds Folk in good standing and makes his songs all the more needed - and cherished - in this mad and crazy world. Departure is a beautiful reminder that we need to cherish what we have here around us in the present whilst it's here.
- Del Day, February 2022
- 180g High-Quality Vinyl
- Direct Metal Master Cut Vinyl
- DMM Disc Cutting by Hendrik Pauler
- Premastering by Hans-Jörg Maucksh at Pauler Acoustics with B&W 800 D3 Monitors
|Steve Folk||vocals, guitar|
|Ian Melrose||guitar, dobro, aria contrabass guitar, low whistle|
|Jens Kommnick||bouzouki, guitar|
|Lea Morris||backing vocals|
|Hanna Carlson||backing vocals|
|Ulla van Daelen||concert harp|
|John Heinrich||pedal steel guitar|
|Beo Brockhausen||saxophone, udu|
|Hans-Jörg Maucksch||fretless bass|
- Chase My Dancing Heart
- My Wife, the River
- No Net Curtains in New York
- I Return
- Big River
- Still Sliding