By David Pratt
Just prior to the first pandemic lockdown, in a local folk club very much given to promoting the traditional rather than contemporary, you could hear a conversation, admittedly one heard before at this venue, in which one of the participants bemoaned the fact that there were currently no young performers “truly keeping the tradition alive”. Notwithstanding the plethora of other examples which could be given in evidence against this assertion, the protagonist had clearly not anticipated a recording from Serious Sam Barrett, who with his latest offering, The Seeds Of Love, a collection of traditional love songs of England and Scotland, has surely released what will be one of the traditional folk albums of the year.
Raised in Addingham, a Dales village, his ties and affinity with Yorkshire have clearly been evident in his work. Initially performing in and around Leeds in 2004, the experiences and knowledge garnered from being brought up in the Yorkshire folk club scene and being exposed to what he describes as “the wonder I have felt listening to people sing traditional songs in a raw, warts and all style” have obviously seeped deep into his consciousness, and this is reflected in the respectful way he interprets and delivers the traditional songs on this album.
An appearance at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in 2010 followed the release of his debut album Close to Home in 2009, and after extensive touring in the US, together with the much-lauded 2019 release Where The White Roses, Sam’s stock and reputation have risen. The Seeds Of Love was once again recorded at The Stationhouse in Leeds with producer/engineer James Atkinson, in between periods of Covid lockdown, and, judging by the quality of music inherent on the album, perhaps perversely, the enforced lack of gigging and touring may well have not only given him quality time and breathing space but also provided additional opportunities to enhance his writing skills. Continue reading