Trefor & Vicki Williams’s Timeless Land

cover, Timeless LandApart from occasionally hearing Trefor and Vicki sing at various local festivals, the first time that I ever really met them was after Gordon Morris and I sang our song “The Fight of The Fiddlers” at Chester Folk Festival, 2000. It transpired that they live in Rhudllan (a small town in North Wales), which is featured in the song. I gave them a CD and in return received a copy of their previous album The Bare Branch.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “They still barter with chickens and goats in this part of the world,” but it simply isn’t true! Either way, I came out of the deal with a nice CD to listen to and was well pleased. As you would expect, (coming from the Land of Song), Vicki sings very sweetly and has a distinctive voice. My first impressions of The Bare Branch were that while the vocals were excellent, the duo sounded a little nervous instrumentally in places, even though they had guest musicians Phil Hare and Joe Broughton helping them along. This latest album Timeless Land is a great improvement.

They have matured well, and the increase in gigs brought on by the first album shows in the new album. Even though Vicki and Trefor both play guitar, they have again utilised guest musicians. Phil Hare returns on guitar and Jon Brindley plays violin. Well, why not? After all Kate Rusby has no less than nine guest musicians on her albums! I know that this is like a red rag to a folk purist’s bull, but it sounds good to me.

The album was produced by Mike Johnson at 101 Records, and is very well recorded. The duo seem to have found their own niche in the spectrum of folk performers, with Vicki taking the lead on vocals. All the songs are performed softly and honestly with an effective simplicity that makes for good listening. Probably what you might expect to hear in a U.K. folk club.

There are 12 songs on the album, four of which are written by Vicki. “Timeless Land” tells the legend of Wenlock Edge in the county of Shropshire, where a giant is said to have dropped the shovel full of earth that he was intending to bury the nearby town of Shrewsbury with! Wenlock Edge is a very pretty place and Vicki was inspired to wax lyrical about it whilst driving past on a spring morning.

Two of the tracks on the album are sung in the Welsh language. One of these, “Ar Hyd y Nos,” is equally well known by its English title “All Through the Night” and is frequently sung by Welsh male choirs. The other Welsh song is “Huna Blentyn” a traditional Welsh lullaby. It is said that when a newborn baby smiles up into the air, it is smiling at the angels. The album includes a gentle version of Fairport Convention’s “Crazy Man Michael.” An interesting and unusual song is Vicki’s “What The Cards Foretell: XV1: The Tower” which concerns Tarot card readings and their meanings.

My favourite song on the album is another a song penned by Vicki, called “And We Shall Dance.” On the winter Solstice, the Oak King (the Green Man) defeats the Holly King and makes the spring come again. (Readers may appreciate that I fought off the urge to write a paragraph about the Green Man staff prancing around the Great Hall supping copious amounts of some Cornish brain damage!) The song has an effective, simple melody, and like all good folk songs, grows on you the more that you listen to it.

(101 Records, 2002)

Peter Massey

Born in 1945, Peter Massey, Senior Writer, is now living in the city of Chester, England with his wife Sandra. Now medically retired he worked for 35 years in the shoe business. He has been a semi-professional musician and singer performing mainly traditional / contemporary folk songs for over 38 years as part of the duo (and sometimes trio) 'The Marrowbones'. His musical interest started at the age of 14 with Rock 'n' Roll and by the time his seventeenth birthday came along he was already playing rock 'n' roll and R&B in and around the local dance venues and clubs such as the Cavern in Liverpool. Thankfully he was saved from the evils of rock 'n' roll when he discovered real music and folk clubs. His collection of recordings houses over 3500 folk songs alone. Other interests and hobbies include Computers and Amateur Radio (he has a class A G4 call sign) His latest project is 'The Little Room Studio' dedicated to making 'live' recordings of folk artists and producing their work on to CD using a portable digital recording studio. To date he has written and composed over 12 folk songs and co-wrote with Gordon Morris another 10 that have been recorded on CD. The song writing has continued and they have another 10 songs in the pipeline not yet recorded to CD. Favourite music / bands at the moment are Steeleye Span, The Battlefield Band, Little Johnny England and Fairport Convention, (in that order), and much admires the work of Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Roy Bailey, Vin Garbutt, and Bob Fox, to name but a few! You can visit the crummy Web site here and read about The Marrowbones and how to get your free songbook.

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