Monday, 19 October 2015

KIM LOWINGS & THE GREENWOOD

CD Review

Historia

This is Kim Lowings & The Greenwood's second album and it has been pretty much self-produced and financed which if nothing else tells you of the band's determination to be heard. 

Kim Lowings.
Pic Louise Lowings
The outfit, which has four core members of Lowings, Tim Rogers, Dave Sutherland and Andrew Lowings, hails from Stourbridge which is part of a region known as the Black Country in the West Midlands.
KLG are a pretty mellow, chilled out folk band with Lowings gentle but powerful tones fronting the group.
The album opens with Wood Wife in the good old folk tradition of a dark tale about a hag who ensnares people with her stories and feeds off the attention she gains.
Lowings' silky, almost understated voice tells the tale wonderfully and simply.
I'm Still Here is a ballad with a modern and personal theme for Lowings which is about when she left her employer Asda and moved on to fresh pastures, thankfully for the folk world.
This really does give you a much clearer sense of her voice where the mellow tune is very easy on the ear.
The following track is sort of in two parts, it's introduced by Lowings grandfather John who gives the story which is the inspiration for the following track of Maggie's Song which is a straightforward song about people aboard a ship in the Adriatic off the coast of Croatia enjoying dancing, music and more than a little of the local booze. The sound is more pop-like than other tracks but it's a real song about ordinary folk doing ordinary things.
Lullaby is a beautiful song which shows you Lowings not only has a gorgeous voice but a real talent for songwriting too.
It's sung almost a Capella except for the gentle accents of musical notes in the background. Lowings arrangement of the traditional Dark Eyed Sailor is really mellow and is lifted beautifully by the fiddle playing of the wonderfully named Anna-Margarita Teodorova Oprenova.
Dave Sutherland, Andrew Lowings
and Tim Rogers
Pic Louise Lowings
Instrumental Alfrick is inspired by the place in Worcestershire of the same name and is a gossamer light dance tune with the fiddle playing along with the percussion skills of Rogers driving it along. You can almost see the ring of men and women with hands linked flowing in and out in waves as the band keep them on their feet.
Lowings really gets her teeth into Willow which is one of the best tracks on the album. Her father Andrew keeps the rhythm dancing with his impressive picking which compliments Rogers' efforts.
It starts off pretty light and while that is kept all the way through the band introduces a brooding feel to it which gives it more depth.
Lowings goes back to the traditional again with her arrangement of The Blacksmith and she slows things right down from other versions giving it more the feel of a story than a song which also gives Lowings the chance to show off her guitar skills.
The new album
Monsoon is a wonderfully brooding song and gives Lowings the chance to bring her dulcimer skills to the fore, the beat she keeps under the strands of music are quite unsettling and ominous which adds real colour to the atmosphere of the song. Regrets is a song from Lowings which is incredible in its simplicity. It's about a chance meeting with an old man in an Asda, whose wife of many years had recently died.
It's a wonderful example of how a fleeting moment can make such an impression and being able to turn it into such a poignant song is a real art.
Lowings takes the album out with another arrangement of a traditional song where you can hear the band working wonderfully in harmony held up with the background sound of Sutherland on the bass and Rogers on percussion.
KLG have found that chemistry between the four of them which creates something special and something which you can never quite describe or pin down but, like all good songs and music, you know it when you hear it.

Historia is out now and available from the band's website and as downloads.