On 'Songs of Trial And Triumph', Brian Peters applies his vocal and instrumental skills to creat a variety of musical settings - acapella, guitar or concertina-backed, old-timey and even heavy rock - to some of the greatest folk songs of them all: the Child Ballads.
Amongst lovers of traditional folk song, the collection assembled in the 19th century by Harvard Literature professor F. J. Child, holds a special place. Story-songs filled with the universal markers of our humanity - heroism, treachery, desire, jealousy, self-sacrifice and wit – entwined with old magic and supernatural belief, and sometimes touching frightening depths of savagery, the Child Ballads include some of the most challenging and rewarding material in British folksong.
Brian Peters has been fascinated by this ancient repertoire for many years, and won a reputation as one of its leading interpreters. On this album he takes on the challenge of a CD made up entirely of ballads from the Child catalogue. He’s researched Child’s collection and other sources to fashion his own unique and fresh versions of some of the greatest ballads, including a few you may never have heard before. Singing unaccompanied, or using carefully-crafted arrangements on guitar, concertina or melodeon, or backed by various ensembles from English country to Appalachian string band and even gothic folk-rock, Brian finds plenty of musical variety within his chosen concept.
'Songs of Trial and Triumph' has received many critical accolades. Steve Winick of the Library of Congress and 'Dirty Linen' magazine wrote:
"It's an all-around terrific CD, one of the best ballad albums out there. Brian Peters has long been one of the very best performers in the field of English traditional song and music; he sings and plays with consummate skill, and makes each ballad new and striking... unusual ballads such as 'Sir Aldingar' and 'False Foudrage' shimmer with magic and murder…. the folk-rock arrangement of 'Three Ravens' is worthy of Steeleye Span."
England's distinguished folk singer Roy Harris wrote in 'The Living Tradition':
"Brian Peters: a man who sings these vivid tales as though he read them in this morning's headlines, a man who loves the ballads and sings with passion. The album is a corker…. terrific choice of songs and spot-on vocals, varied and immaculately played backings, and the thought that has gone into finding fresh versions…. the best 'Lord Randal' I've ever heard, the best 'Georgie', the best 'Lucy Wan'... plus the astounding 'Sir Aldingar'."
Essential for any fan of traditional ballads.