A stylish folk album which creates dynamic and magical songs from the family history and favourite tales of their creator
2015 has been a strong year for albums that make something special from the stories of everyday folk, old and new. The Unthanks started it back in February with Mount The Air and the third record from Derbyshire singer-songwriter Lucy Ward is the latest offering to forge a similar path, whether through her original compositions or reinterpretations of traditional songs.
Musically, I Dreamt I Was A Bird veers from the soft ambience of tracks like Summers That We Made to more jazzy effort, Ode To Whittaker Brown and eerie shanties, Lord Randall. The themes come from Ward’s own family ancestry, curious historical characters and overheard conversations. The brass-driven Lion tells the true story of a rifleman shot for cowardice in 1916; Connie And Bud is a simple ballad about a couple, living in a car, whose “boss don’t know they call it home”.
That these tales are all based on the truth only adds to their poignancy and charm; Ward is clearly capable of taking the commonplace and transforming it into an engaging piece of music. The clarity in her voice helps her message take hold, until the very last line of final tack Return To Earth when she confesses “I can no longer sing”. Thankfully by then she has already said her piece.
Verdict: Making the earthy into the ethereal