Album review: FREDDIE STEVENSON – The Darkening/The Brightening

FREDDIE STEVENSON - The Darkening/The Brightening

[Release date 18.09.15]

Co-produced by Mike Scott, this release by British/American songwriter and guitarist Freddie Stevenson comprises 18 short stories written in the Scottish Borders and arranged in two song montages.

Originally conceived as just The Brightening following breaking up with his girlfriend and touring North America and the UK opening for The Waterboys, Scott pointed out it was too short to be a record and under his direction Stevenson composed the counterpart The Darkening.

And they are ‘short stories’ – the 18 pieces together only run out at 40 minutes – with each song within The Darkening dropping a key, and in The Brightening lifting to create a holistic cycle to the melancholic set.

Despite being a modern folk record, The Darkening/The Brightening has an innocence and naivety that is seldom encountered in this digital age.  A beautifully crafted statement, it would undoubtedly have been widely appreciated in the early 1970′s, although the likelihood is that it will follow Stevenson’s three previous albums down the path to relative obscurity.

Which is a shame for The Darkening/The Brightening is a rare album ‘out of time’.  For folk troubadour connoisseurs amongst us, this is something of a ‘find’.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

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