Samuels, Elaine & Kindred Spirit - Phoenix Rising,
Well, this was a nice surprise. I had not come across these guys before, so didn’t know what to expect, but was incredibly pleased when it transpired that they sit quite happily within the prog folk and folk-rock fields. Given that I literally flew all the way around the world last year just to attend the most important (to my ears) folk-rock festival there is, Cropredy, I can say that this is music that I enjoy: particularly when it is as good as this. In many ways, they remind me of The Morrigan, although here with a violin very much to the fore, and although primarily acoustically led, the electric guitar is dynamic and powerful when it is required. The flute is also incredibly important, bringing a freshness and light to proceedings, while Elaine has a wonderfully clear voice, with a touch more emotion than the pure Maddy Prior or Annie Haslam. The drums and percussion are provided with a deft touch, understanding the need to do far more than just blast away in 4/4 time, and understanding that less is often more. So, it was something of a surprise to discover that the man behind the kit is none other than Les Binks, who will always be associated with the classic Judas Priest of the Seventies. Although he will be associated always with heavy metal for his time there, and also with bands such as Tytan, it must be remembered that he is a session musician who can also be discovered on albums such as Roger Glover’s classic ‘Butterfly Ball’.
This is a fresh and wonderful album, just right for the summer, and I am somewhat distraught to discover that it was released in 2015 but that I have only just come across it. But, on checking their website the good news is that they are in the studio and that another one should be with us shortly. This is a delight from start to end, and I love the cover of America’s “Horse With No Name”.