Review: Ye Vagabonds: The Hare’s Lament

Ye Vagabonds – The Hare’s Lament
River Lea – 22 March 2019

River Lea – the new record label run by music writer Tim Chipping under the wing of indie giants Rough Trade – is barely six months and three albums old, and already it feels like part of the folk music furniture. The label’s first release, Lisa O’Neill’s Heard A Long Gone Song (2018) was a breath of fresh air, a raw and uncompromising blend of original and traditional songs. The second – The Reeling, by Scottish smallpipe player Brìghde Chaimbeul – is one of the most astonishing, exploratory albums to emerge so far this year in any genre. Taken together, they represent a mighty impressive start for a label that appears to have arrived fully-formed and with a mission to reinvigorate traditional forms of musical expression.

With such an impressive start, the challenge for River Lea now is to keep the momentum going. It is understandable that expectations for their next album are going to be high, both amongst critics and the record-buying public. But Rough Trade know what they are doing (they have been around for forty years after all), and they have clearly put all their trust in their new imprint. And within the first few seconds of the first song on Ye Vagabonds’ new album, The Hare’s Lament, it is obvious Continue reading