‘Warm at Last’ sprung from the desire to make an album that is contemporary take on folk music and an attempt to move away from the standard aesthetics of a typical folk album. The idea of a living tradition is that it stays active whilst relevant, present and does not become a museum piece. Within the world of folk music, it could be argued that the tradition itself is the act of passing on a song, not the preservation of a general aesthetic. It has far more to do with the individual approach than maintaining a homogeny. The folk songs on this album propose an alternative presentation.
The album was recorded between 2015 and 2016 in Berlin.
Mastered by Olle Holmberg
Cover art by Kes Kennedy
Title lettering by Andrew Berry
Notes on 'Polly Vaughan':
The lyrics of this traditional Irish folk song concern themselves with a tragic case of mistaken identity. A young woman, caught in the rain is mistaken for a swan and shot dead by a hunter, who coincidentally is her lover. There is a long history in folklore around the world of humans shape shifting into animals. In some versions of this song, Polly Vaughan transforms into a white doe or a dove. As time passed and the influence of Christianity grew, these paganesque images or myths were altered and more rational explanations favoured. In some cases, Polly, to protect herself from rain, covers herself with a white apron and thus ends up being mistaken for a swan. Either way, the tragedy of loss is what lies at the heart of the story and this transcends all rationalisation.
For my recording of this song I chose, with kind permission, the melody written by the excellent singer and musician Shirley Collins, to whom I am extremely grateful.