Also released in September 2018, but on Navigation Records, this was the second sample CD received in August 2018 recorded by by a quintessentially English, female folk singer. Unlike the Kelly Oliver one,this is a debut album Comparisons are odious, but listening to them back to back was an interesting experience and raised some interesting contrasts. She is also on Tour to promote the launch,mostly far afield, but can be seen at Leicester in November.
As with the Kelly Oliver album Sam Kelly has his imprint stamped all over this one also. He produced it, in partnership with Jacob Stoney and some of the Lost Boys turn up again too. There are supplementary vocals,banjo,cello,melodeon and guitar. Jacob Stoney,Tom Moore and Josh Clark (who also mixed and mastered) add their musical two penn'orth also. ( What busy chaps..how do they ever find time to record themselves, or tour?). Recorded in Truro and Bath, it has West Country stamped all over it. (Even if it is watermarked so you can only see it when holding it up to the light. And even then,like the enigmatic, elusive quality of the album itself-not everyone can see it).
Already critically acclaimed by some folk journalists, Namer of Clouds follows an E.P. Released in 2016. It is more mainstream that Traditional,though its roots are indisputably maritime and rural it is essentially acoustic. The overall impression is of a pretty little piece,prettily written and prettily sung. Many of the tracks are more poems set to music than songs. And Kitty is a decent poet who conjures up some decent imagery and creates some effective sound pictures .
That said, Kitty has put a lot of research, travel and thought into collecting arranging and composing these songs. An eclectic and mysterious collection of work which,if I possessed a clifftop cottage,would have seen me gazing out to sea and watching the revolving glow of a faraway lighthouse as I listened.
Given the timbre of her voice I was rather hoping that “Seventeen” would be the Janis Ewan version,but nine of the eleven tracks on here are original. The production is high quality,as one might expect from the Kelly stable. Lots of fade-ins involving “Found Sound” effects as on “Starling Song,” “Morgan's Pantry” and “Inversnaid” (Words to the latter by Gerald Manley Hopkins). The atmospheric “Sea Silk” was co-written by Sam and Kitty with native Sardinian mutterings,mysterious chuckling and wave noises sandwiching the vocals. There is much multi-tracking on the album,and a lot of subtly mixed harmonies which add to the overall ambience. “Man and Friendship” has a folksier feel to it than the rest of the album and is worth a second hearing.
In fact, it is all worthy of a second hearing. “Namer of Clouds” is harder work than the Kelly Oliver album-but gradually, it grew on me too. It has been described as “cerebral and classy” and I suppose that means you have to listen carefully when so much is going on lyrically and musically. Listening to it made me think of The Somerset Levels even before I read that the cover photo was taken on those very marshes of Avalon. So her music made connections in my head-and that's what any writer and performer aims to do, isn't it?
Finally, an additional House Point for the presentation. The CD I received was in an attractive three way gate-fold sleeve,with the CD itself (a picture disc) cosily perched in an envelope in the middle. The artwork was attractive and the accompanying notes were very informative.