Monday, July 19, 2010

Neil Benton - Mill girl ballerina

Hear The Track Here

A new name to me from Mixposure, Neil Benton is an English self acclaimed folk musician and I have to say that makes a change. Probably one of the most denigrated genre's ever, folk always seems to be something many people don't care for. Personally, I've always found room for it, at least the kind of music I would consider to be folk anyway. See, to me folk isn't just about some guy (or some girl) with a guitar. It's about storytelling. Its about passing down information through song and dance which has long been a feature of traditional music (or rather English traditional music), the music that was played around maypoles and the like came from the folk and a true folk musician would understand that. Sure, it's all well and good if they are a dazzling musician and/or have a good voice but when all is said and done, I expect a story to be told.

Neil is obviously an old hand at this game because he tells us in the song comments this is a song about his granny, whose life he only learned about after her passing. As he says 'It's funny how sometimes you find out the most interesting things about people you know well only after they have gone' and I'd echo that and take it a little further and say that its best not to take anyone at face value, there is always a story to be told. Not one, I suspect, as grand and sweeping on the world stage as with Neil's gran, but one worthy of attention anyway. Truth is, as said gran may very well say, if you wrote it in a book no one would believe it.

Coming from England gives you a very particular folk slant, as indeed it does for say Scots, Irish or Welsh, but one I readily identify with having taken in huge quantities of folk traditions as a young man and Neil does an absolutely splendid job of upholding those fine traditions. He delivers the story in a clear, natural way so that nothing is lost in the telling and accompanies the tale with a very competent finger picking structure that does exactly what it is supposed to do, accentuate the song. Its obvious that Neil recorded this pretty much live in one of the rooms of his house, which is also a very folk thing to do, so best not to expect anything too fancy. I know that this has to be the case because I can't see why Neil would add seagulls to the track, especially since they don't seem to do anything other than sound like seagulls.

Excellent folk (in the true tradition) Highly Recommended.

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