As much of a sociogeographical journey as an album, these skilful compositions reveal the landscapes that inspired their birth
Artists of all mediums are intrinsically linked to their surroundings. From the Dedham Vale of Constable to the moors of the Bronte sisters, geography itself can be as much of an inspiration as love or loss. The new album from Sheffield-born Jim Ghedi captures a similar feeling of place, sweeping across landmarks of his life in places such as Derbyshire, Scotland and Yorkshire.
The seven tracks (all bar two of which are instrumental) reflect their titles. Home For Moss Valley is dramatic and rolling, Bramley Moor is airy, and Fortingall Yew as weathered as the tree that gives the song its name. The brightening piano on Cwn Elan and the unpretentious brass of Sloade Lane are two examples of how the extended cast of instruments help to embolden each composition. Just as Bert Jansch’s Avocet was able to reflect an array of sea birds throughout, Ghedi has created a distinct landscape with each of these pieces.
The lyrics of Phoenix Works were taken from a poem found in an old scythe works local to where Ghedi lives, further strengthening the bond between his music and his life. Banks Of Mulroy Bay is a reworking of a traditional song in which his earthy voice manages to imbue memories of “hills and lakes and mountains” with additional longing.
Both reflective and evocative, A Hymn For Ancient Land is ideal January listening and a fitting homage to the places that have helped shape this precious talent.
Verdict: An evocative musical journey