Heartwood is the debut album by The Rowan Amber Mill.
The history of Heartwood.
After releasing a download-only extended e.p. (Folk Devils And Moral Panics) released in 2008, a veritable sack full of songs were rehearsed and readied to be recorded. Then, as a stop-gap, we decided to take a few of those songs and record a mini-album of songs themed around, and inspired by, the summer, the result was Midsummers which we released in June 2009.
In the meantime, we continued to work on those original songs and arrangements, adding new songs as we went along. By October 2009 armed with some complicated multi-instrument arrangements, all meticulously layed out in fine detail, we made a start on an album with the provisonal title of The Fiery Crowns.
The recording of the album took approaching six months with interruptions for swine flu, the replacement of the sieve-like roof where we were recording, and the loss of our lead singer's voice.
With the aim of achieving a totally pastoral feel to the album we were put away our electric instruments in favour of our familiar acoustic guitars, recorders, bouzouki, banjo alongside some woodwinds, woody strings, woodland harp, contrabassoon, woodland triangle and woodland glockenspiel (to name but a few).
With the sounds "in the can", then followed final mixing, which due to the variety and complexity of the arrangements, took a rather intense 13 full weeks to complete.
With the album completed, and under it's new name of Heartwood, you'll perhaps want to know what it sounds like, which is quite a difficult one to explain. It certainly has captured, for us, the musical embodiment of woodland and fields, pastoral landscape, and timeless stories modern and past.
Well, who does it sound like? Another difficult question. I suppose it has tiny echoes of Joanna Newsom, Espers, Midlake and minute traces of influence of those early 70s folk pioneers Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span with some vague flickers of the long-lost soundtracks of Valerie And Her Week Of Wonders and The Wicker Man. So, all in all, not a particularly helpful description. If such a genre existed perhaps it could nestle within the branches of Woodland Folkadelica.
We genuinely cannot think of a particularly close stylistic comparison to let you have, and like it or not, we believe you won’t have heard anything quite like Heartwood all year. Heartwood contains 14 original songs lovingly created, crafted and recorded. We hope you like it.
Heartwood is released on CD on 23rd August 2010 on the millersounds label, and will be available from independent record stores and online from Amazon, CD Baby etc and direct from our web store at www.millersounds.co.uk
Heartwood will be released in download format on 20th September 2010, and will be available from the usual online stores iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon etc.