Grateful thanks as always to Duncan Fletcher.
Beau - Rattle The Asylum Bars
HD's favourite folkie returns with more wry, satirical, protest, commentary and observation.
It's a standing joke among music journalists that there's always a folk revival going on. It's kind of a truth but looked at from another angle it means that folk music never actually goes away, an eternal touchstone and deep well of inspiration for each new generation of musicians. As a genre it occasionally provides the mainstream with crossover stars but for each of those there are countless other artists, often more unique and talented, mining away at the coalface of folk music and adhering to its core principles; giving voice to the marginalised, highlighting injustice, celebrating cooperation and community while also entertaining and actually having fun.
Which bring me to Beau, who is back with a brand new set of songs that does all those things and more. For those unfamiliar with Beau here's a little back story – Beau (AKA Trevor Midgley) was the first artist to record for John Peel's Dandelion label back in the late '60s. He's continued to write, record and play live ever since, amassing an impressive back catalogue of material. His is a stripped down sound, one voice, one Harmony 12-string acoustic guitar, which lets the lyrics take centre stage.
On his new album Rattle The Asylum Bars, Beau shows he's as astute with those lyrics now as he was back on his 1969 debut. The subject matter ranges from historical lessons society has yet to learn, observations on modern foibles, calls for increased compassion and as you'd expect in these strange times, a little political commentary. As ever with Beau's work you come away feeling informed, entertained and aware that the world is more nuanced than “moral absolutists and polemicists” would have us believe.