THE WILDERNESS YET [Release date 24.07.20]

Named after a line from a Gerard Manley-Hopkins poem The Wilderness Yet are a young folk trio releasing their debut album. The Wilderness Set comprise former BBC Young Folk Award finalist Rosie Hodgson, Rowan Piggott (his father, Charlie, was a founding member of De Dannan) on fiddle and on guitar and flute, Philippe Barnes. Rosie and Rowan have both released solo albums and they have toured as a duo. Philippe joined them after recording a collaborative song for Rowan’s 2018 ‘Songhive’ project.

As Rosie states – “We have such a platform doing what we do – folk music is revolutionary music, and it has always had its toes in the water of big changes and it also has the potential to help people see the importance in the small things that might otherwise be disregarded as unimportant.”

The album’s natural world theme is best encapsulated in the opening tune ‘The Beauties of Autumn’, a song that celebrates one the year’s finest seasons. ‘In A Fair Country’ is a homage to our native trees – oak, willow, ash, alder, apple and birch. A wonderful a cappella number, recalling Steeleye Span’s ‘Reclaimed’, another song on an environmental theme.

You can see why Rosie is highly regarded as a folk singer, possessing a melodic and captivating vocal, not unlike Maddy Prior. ‘Song of the Whale’ is a good example of this, another song that highlights the environmental emergency going on in the world currently.

Rowan and Philippe combine well throughout the album, with ‘Chalice Well/The Welcombe Hills’ a real stand out of their respective playing and talents.

The Wilderness Yet do include some traditional folk staples though, like the murder ballad ‘A Bruton Farmer’. A tale of a sister who sees her brothers hang for their part in the murder of her lover.

The Wilderness Set are a talented trio and here’s hoping they get to show off their inspiring debut album in the live arena sooner, rather than later. An album of the times, proving that folk music recalls not just the past, but also the present and what could happen in the future. ****

Reviews by Jason Ritchie

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