I Cannot Sing You Here, But For Songs Of Where is the third full-lenght album from Thirty Pounds of Bone which is released on Armellodie Records on 6th May this year. He has released a video for track ‘The Streets I Staggered Down’ which you can watch below:
On the Album:
The record sees songwriter Johny Lamb further explore his continuing theme of place. Split into four separate locations; (past place, the place of heritage, present place and the in between), the record aims to articulate experiences of itinerancy and second-generation migrancy.
Throughout these songs, Johny adopts, appropriates and abuses forms of traditional music, with the hybridity that has previously gained him much praise from critics.
His take on a Veesik (a lost form of Shetland song), backed by a drone built from accordion and the machines used by boat builders (of Hays Dock in Lerwick), exemplifies this.
‘Mother This Land Won’t Hold Me’, begins as an unaccompanied Sean Nós Ballad that gradually abstracts to a dense, distortion-led climax.
Elsewhere we find him buckling under the relentless momentum of touring in ‘The Streets I Staggered Down’, with no end in sight, and nowhere meaningful to go back to when the end finally comes. In ‘The Snow in Kiel’, the flatlands of Western Europe flash past him as he goes from gig to gig, never quite catching up with himself.
Johny makes no claim on any of these territories, admitting his spurious involvement with each as the songs progress. In the true account of attempting to visit his mother’s childhood home in ‘The Ballad of Cootehill’, only to find it long since demolished, he sings, ‘But I am not the man to say that we are from Cootehill.’ This song furthers the sense of dislocation in the familiar folksong theme of Irish migration, from a sense of missing home, to the sense of never having seen it in the first place.
The album closes with ‘The Wolf on the Shelf’, set against the sound of a storm beating against the static caravan Johny lives and works in. This is a love song for home, which Lamb has decided is a state brought about by a proximity to cherished possessions, regardless of where they happen to be.
‘I Cannot Sing You Here, But For Songs of Where’ features several guests including Darren Hayman (Hefner), Al Nero and Scott Maple (Le Reno Amps), Jen Macro (Something Beginning With L), Irish box player Seamus Harahan, and Laurence Collyer (Diamond Family Archive). Thirty Pounds of Bone’s song-writing reflects Johny’s opinion that the folk song must change for its time, and his idea that the unreconstructed performance of heritage is at root, only that; an empty gesture towards a past that belongs to no one living. All of the music that weaves through his life is allowed entry into his songs, and the result owes as much to various trends in popular music as it does to folk, giving him a sound that is at once highly contemporary and trans-historical.