Of the many folk music bands I’ve seen live one of the most memorable for taking what they produce on an album to the stage with style and atmosphere is the Old Dance School. With three studio albums under their belt they have become a band in high demand. In the last seven years they have probably spent more time away touring than settled in their home base of Birmingham. In that time their music has absorbed a rich palette of influences, and evolved far beyond their roots in traditional folk music. Their provocative songs intelligently weave together shimmering strings and soaring brass crescendos, bright grooves and floating fiddle melodies. Despite such busy schedules they have found time to record a new album Behind The Glass which will be released in early 2016.
But the news doesn’t stop there… This week, the band are taking the bold step of changing their name to The Fair Rain. “We want to shed our skin,” explains founder and guitarist Robin Beatty, “We’ve known for some time that we had to make a decision in order to move forward. The new album we’ve been working on for the last 12 months feels like a real gear shift in the way we sound, so we know this is the right moment.”
“We’ve come a long way since our early beginnings playing traditional music for ceilidhs and sessions. We hear a lot of, “Are you a school?”, “where were the dancers?”, “but you’re not old!”, and we don’t want our name to hold us from growing in the way we want to. We’re really grateful for the support of our followers over the years, and we realise this is a big leap of faith. We just hope they’ll come with us.”
Behind The Glass features one the band’s darkest tales yet. Mannequin (also our Song of the Day)– the story of Franz Reichelt, the French tailor who tested his flying suit invention on himself in 1912, from the Eiffel Tower.
“We thought it was fitting”, says Robin Beatty. “Just like Franz Reichelt, we’re standing on the precipice.”
21st October – BIRMINGHAM – Red Lion Folk Club
21st November – MATLOCK – Whitworth Centre
You can visit their new website here: www.thefairrain.com