Oysterband / Meet You There - CD
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cd cover Oysterband
Meet You There (Westpark)

The 2007 studio album by the Brit folk-rock legends

   

More music from Oysterband

Tracks:

From their press kit:
"Strong solo and collective singing plus compelling instrumental touches (from cascading mbira notes to stinging, rockabilly guitar): as always, a fresh perspective on 'folk'"

Once the bad boys of folk and rock, Oysterband have grown over the past five years into the role of musical custodians and godfathers of folk. Collaborative tours with rising young stars under the banner of The Big Session; a Big Session “live” album with June Tabor, Eliza Carthy, The Handsome Family, Show Of Hands and more; and finally a Big Session festival, now in its third year, which hasn't yet failed to sell out. And there have been gongs, awards, nominations...

The 'house band' role Oysterband played for part of these years drew on the group's formidable musical skills, rather as The Last Waltz did once upon a time for The Band. And it made them re-evaluate themselves. "We had to go back to the essential impulse that's kept the band kicking for almost 30 years - making new songs for ourselves," says Ian Telfer. “We put a PA system in a village hall on the Welsh border and got down to some serious playing. It's the doing it together that unlocks it for us," he insists. "It's the only way the songs can grow and breathe, of course. But also, we've always believed that creativity is a collective thing, and that's helped shape the band's politics. Not that we agree about everything, by a long chalk...but hey, that's the spark."

Once new song structures were licked into shape, Oysterband took the best ideas to The Premises in Hackney ("Europe's first solar-powered studio") to work on the voices and acoustic instruments. Some late ideas were added in Brighton and at cellist Chopper's house in Sweden.

"I think the long, sustained preparation has enhanced Meet You There enormously," says Telfer. "The singing - everybody's singing - is better than it's ever been. The raw rush that used to take us out on tour with The Pogues etc has evolved into something more measured, more powerful. We listened to it all back when we'd finished and we all thought: 'Yes! Strong. Rooted.' (And then: 'Cop that!') Literally, it's been refreshing - it's renewed our self-belief."

Meet You There certainly delivers a fresh perspective on 'folk'. Check out the lovely mbira introduction by Chopper to the opening song Over The Water, and the stinging rockabilly guitar beat of Someone Somewhere for contrast. For the singing, check out Over The Water again, Where The World Divides, The Boy's Still Running, the dreamy anthemic Dancing As Fast As I Can. For the politics, the acid, knowing take on globalisation (over a cheery jugband backing) on Here Comes The Flood.

"We were lucky to work with a really intuitive photographer too, Judith Burrows. Not only did she get us some very strong shots for the packaging, she got the whole mood and idea of what we were doing from listening to the tracks. In a funny way, doing the shoot helped us crystallise our feelings about what we'd written."

"Meet You There is the most consistent thing we've done as a grown-up band," says Telfer. "It has what I like to think of as Oyster trademarks - a folk ear for a great vocal tune; strong lyrics; wry politics; and a sort of deep-down musicality that can afford to take itself fairly lightly. It's essentially acoustic, essentially folk-based I suppose. But we try to put it over with big dynamics and a sense of musical theatre."
30 years' experience really shows.



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