There has been a lot of prog rock on the menu at Crotchety Mansions recently. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but you can have too much of a good thing. So, Crotchety Man demanded a more varied selection of songs from his favourite streaming service. Setting the controls for the Curated All Songs Shuffle he settled down to listen to randomly chosen tracks from his personal anthology.
There are always a few surprises when the pack is shuffled like this. Once in a while the silicon DJ picks a cooking apple from the basket of online data and presents it raw for immediate consumption. One bite leaves a lingering sour taste in the mouth. More often, though, a vintage song sparkles afresh like West Country cider, reminding me, perhaps, of rosy cheeks and old friendships. But the biggest surprises are those songs I had completely forgotten.
This Track of the Week is a folk song that must have come up on a playlist and was added to the online Crotchety library with a reflex click of the mouse, never to re-emerge until another blogging deadline loomed on the time horizon. It’s one of those long forgotten songs that deserves to be heard again, not least because it sounds just like Pentangle.
The guitar introduction might be a Bert Jansch solo. The voice isn’t quite Jacqui McShee but it is true and clear and beautiful. The bass couldn’t be Danny Thompson, the drums aren’t Terry Cox and the backing vocals are certainly not John Renbourn, but the overall sound is very much that of the foremost British folk group of our generation.
Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum are, in fact, a folk/roots/country duo from Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan, Canada. They have been making records together since 2011, initially just as a singer and acoustic guitarist, but more recently with a drummer and bass player.
The Siren’s Song is the title track of Kacy and Clayton‘s latest album, released in 2017. It tells the story of the mythical creatures, part woman, part bird, whose irresistibly beautiful song lured sailors onto the rocks that surrounded their island home. Odysseus, curious to hear the song, ordered his ship’s crew to plug their ears with beeswax and bind him to the mast. On no account was he to be freed until they passed out of earshot of the Sirens’ voices once again. When Odysseus heard the Sirens’ song he begged to be released but the deafened sailors obeyed their orders and the ship sailed safely on.
Kacy and Clayton tell the story with a simple tune, some lovely guitar work and a Goldilocks production – not too little and not too much of anything, but just the right mix. This time, the silicon DJ served up a really nice surprise.