Album review: Karine Polwart – Tabling a political motion

Karine Polwart

Sometimes, the life of a musician on tour is seen as a exotic one. But although she’s excited to be playing live again, Karine Polwart dispels the myth of private jets and champagne-filled jacuzzis.

“We’ve got an Arnold Clark transit – less glamorous than a bus,” she laughs. Home, and her two children couldn’t be farther away as their ‘tourbus’ heads from Portsmouth to Wales – far from her central Scottish home.

“I guess any musician making a living is largely dependent on touring in England, because that’s where the people are,” she explains. But, as a multiple winner at the BBC Folk Awards, it’s clear that she is unlikely to be a stranger to audiences outside her native Scotland.

And family is close at hand, with brother Steven plus Inge Thompson joining her band for the first time in four years.

In this gap Radio 2’s Folk Singer of the Year rather spread her wings, working with pop musicians, as well as releasing album ‘A Pocket Of Wind Resistance’ with its award-winning theatre companion piece.

“All those things fed into this album – there’s a couple of spoken word pieces that I’d not have had the brassneck to try if I’d not had the piece of theatre.”

“I’m enjoying this period in my life where I get to try a bunch of things out, so it’s good fun… I’m never bored, put it that way!”

And it’s not folk music in the traditional sense, she agrees. “There are textures at the back of the songs, definitely inspired by working with Pippa (Murphy), who’s more of a sound designer.”

“I’ve maybe bust my elbows out of the folk singer jacket,” she admits. “Folk’s a massive influence and I love folk, it’s where my career began, but I see myself as a songwriter, my influences are folk, but there’s also pop, spoken word, storytelling, all into the pot.”

She’s even launching a picture book for kids she reveals, so her oeuvre is “a little confused”.

“If you do your byline for what you are now, the list gets quite long. But it suits me and I’m enjoying this period in my life where I get to try a bunch of things out and see where they affect each other, so it’s good fun… I’m never bored, put it that way!”

And that applies to new album ‘Laws of Motion’ – a collection of “kind of odd songs, a bit like little mini movies.” [ . . . ]

Continue at : Album review: Karine Polwart – Tabling a political motion – is this music?

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