Rebsie Fairholm | Mind The Gap

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UK - England - South West

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Folk: Psych-folk Folk: British Folk Moods: Solo Female Artist
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Mind The Gap

by Rebsie Fairholm

Dark and haunting English psych-folk piped in from the underworld. "Rebsie has the most beguiling of voices – she really is something special. Just beautiful, uncluttered, refreshing." - Organ Magazine
Genre: Folk: Psych-folk
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Round Window
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4:41 album only
2. The Unquiet Grave
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7:00 album only
3. Maccrimmon's Lament
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4:17 album only
4. Buain A'choirce
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3:15 album only
5. Blackbirds & Thrushes
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3:48 album only
6. Spirits of the Dead
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2:19 album only
7. Leafblower
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3:41 album only
8. Fine Horseman
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3:18 album only
9. Geordie
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5:05 album only
10. Julia Dream
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3:20 album only
11. She Moves Through the Fair
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5:20 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Rebsie Fairholm is an English singer who felt the calling to traditional music, finding new and unusual ways to express ancient sounds. Inspired by the British landscape, her music is darkly evocative and she has a soft and haunting voice which touches the listener on a deep level. She stirs up the sound of the ancient past but firmly rooted in the here and now, sometimes awash with psychedelic guitars and sometimes in very sparse and ethereal arrangements which allow the voice to fill the space.

Mind The Gap features a mixture of lovingly recycled traditional songs and stuff written or co-written with friends ... fiddle, mandolin and 12-string guitar, Irish pipes and other groovy stuff in a heady psych-folk mix. Musicians appearing on the album include Steáfán Hannigan (uillean pipes), Martyn Kember-Smith (electric fiddle), Steve Lang (guitars), Jason Gazda (didgeridoo) and William Shaw (mandolin/fiddle), Phideaux Xavier (guitar) and Molly Ruttan (drums).

\"An absolutely wonderful album\'s worth of entrancing whispered glowing heart-warming Celtic/old English (Pagan?) folk, embroidered with cleverly delicate instrumentation. Lush golden strings and seductive woodwind, haunting glowing beauty and Rebsie has the most beguiling of voices – she really is something special. Just beautiful, uncluttered, refreshing. Delicately arranged folk familiars (and a beautiful version of Pink Floyd’s Julia Dream). Calming, uplifting, ethereal and a slightly new feel on something very traditional and unashamedly rooted in very old ways – for fans, followers and lovers of Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, the leaves turning golden orange and the Albion spirit that can still be found (beautiful artwork as well).\" -Organ Magazine, issue 234.


Reviews


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Daniel Staniforth

Like Silk to Our Bruises...
With all the delicious nuances found in Rebsie Fairholm’s music, a mere folk classification could be considered somewhat misleading and restrictive. “Mind the Gap,” a phrase most often heard in London’s tube stations, becomes a playful warning as to the amalgamated historical portents one is about to engage in while listening to this stunning CD. Fairholm’s voice is firmly rooted in a pre-Roman Britain with its sprites, pixies, and Celtic mythos. And what a voice it is – pure, unadorned, free from over-indulgence and the multi-affectations that riddle so many voices of our era. It is a story-telling voice from the sylvan woodlands, beautific in its slight shyness and soft allurement – like silk to the bruises of the modern world. One will encounter lush retellings of old tales, from the ethereal waltzes of “Round Window” and “Blackbirds & Thrushes” to the Gaelic elegy found in “MacCrimmon’s Lament.” But Fairholm does not stop at being some sacred relic from Britain’s utopian past – much of her music is sprinkled with marvelous modern interpolations. The Gothic “Unquiet Grave” and “She Moves through the Fair” are treated most exquisitely with an Eno/Aphex electronic ambience, bringing the listener to the precipice of the aforementioned ‘gap.’ Edgar Allan Poe’s ominous poem, “Spirit of the Dead,” is rendered with a lithe sense of performance poetics with all the correct sonic embellishments subtly applied by the singer. The CD also includes a quite magical adaptation of an early and underappreciated Pink Floyd song, “Julia Dream,” where Roger Water’s searching voice is replaced by Fairholm’s knowing one. Out of respect for this mesmerizing work, I shall refrain from making too many convenient comparisons, although Fairholm would keep good company with Kate Bush, Emma Anderson (of Lush), Sheila Chandra, Emiliana Torrini, Sally Oldfield, Maggie Reilly, and the Mediaeval Baebes. Cleverly, she surrounds herself with strong musicians as evidenced by the mandolin, classical guitar, slide guitar, and violin heard on “Mind the Gap.” This is a thoroughly worthwhile musical adventure and I urge you to answer Fairholm’s delightful siren call.

Michael K. Kivinen

A Vital, Vibrant Marriage of Tradition and Technology
After first receiving acclaim as a playwright for her drama This Wretched Splendour, Rebsie Fairholm (née Rebecca Wilby) turned her considerable talents to music. Mind the Gap, her first full-length album, is the richly rewarding result. To get a sense of her music, imagine soulfully sung, somewhat psychedelic settings of Celtic folk music, inhabiting a soundscape that shares common ground with Brian Eno’s Another Green World and the twilight dreaminess of Mazzy Star. Fairholm sings and plays keyboards, acoustic guitar, Celtic harp, and electric bass. Other musicians add mandolin, didgeridoo, and uileann pipes to this vital, vibrant marriage of tradition and technology.

Using Macintosh’s GarageBand home recording tools, Fairholm began posting her music on the Macjams site about three years ago. This lead to collaboration with songwriter and mandolin player, William Shaw, with whom—as the duo Revolving Doris—she recorded and released a five-song EP, Imber. When Doris split up, she decided to press on as a solo artist.

Over its 46 minutes Mind the Gap contains a surprising diversity of material within an overall aural unity. There are covers of traditional songs, early Pink Floyd (“Julia Dream”), and the Watersons; an eerie narration of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Spirits of the Dead”; and two strikingly different originals, the alternative rock-inflected “Leafblower” and the more impressionistic “Round Window.”

Bob Dylan once sang of empty rooms “where the angels’ voices whisper to the souls of previous times.” Rebsie Fairholm’s voice and music make the sounds I imagine echoing through those empty rooms.
CD Title: Mind the Gap Artist: Rebsie Fairholm Label: The Lost Records (TLR00060)
Review written by: Michael K. Kivinen

Tracey Inkson

Traditional beauty
Beautiful vocals complimented by the stunning arrangements. A beautiful choice of instruments which make for a pure sound which gets inside you. An album which is has you hooked from start to finish.

Jon B

Lovely voice - fine arrangements
Rebsie Fairholm updates the beauty of traditional folk songs with lovely, technology-tinged arrangements. Her excellent voice is always featured amidst acoustic and subtle electronic instruments. This CD is fine for the traditionalist, and heaven for those looking for a well-crafted aural experience.