Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker will release their debut album for Rough Trade, ‘Overnight,’ on October 14th, 2016. The album which is self-produced, follows their Rough Trade debut, the ‘Through The Clouds’ EP, which was released earlier this year.
‘Overnight’ is their most ambitious record to date, focusing on Clarke’s extraordinary voice and lyrics, and Walker’s prodigious guitar-playing and arranging; the album features panoramic orchestration by an eclectic core of acclaimed musicians, including strings, horns, piano, double bass, and drums. The twelve songs – ten originals and two covers – recorded almost entirely live at Rockfield Studios in Wales – serve as a snapshot of the endless cycle of night into day and back again, morning light, into dusk, into black midnight, into greying dawn, and on, and on.
The album’s lilting first single, “The Waning Crescent,” is almost an answer in ballad form to the portrayal of the moon in traditional and popular music as a soothing, confessional, companion (i.e. “Blue Moon”). Coming at the darkest and stillest point in the album, the song – like the moon – brings a reassuring lightness.
Clarke explains, “I started to think about if I was the moon, what I might think and feel, and what the moon might sing back,” adding, “I’ve given it a slightly whiny, self-pitying quality because it’s whimsical and a bit funny.”
One of the poppier songs on the album, the sound of “The Waning Crescent” is meant to fit the song’s subject matter. “We’ve done vignettes before where we’ve taken on a musical genre because that’s what fits the concept of the song. On this one, we’ve used the ‘50s and ‘60s space-race era pop sound to deliberately compound the moon theme,” says Josienne.
Other ‘Overnight’ highlights include the stunning country/soul ballad “Something Familiar” and their marvellous take on Gillian Welch’s “Dark Turn Of Mind,” the eerie folk of “Dawn Of The Dark” and “The Light Of His Lamp,” and the traditional-leaning “Sweet The Sorrow” and “Weep You No More Sad Fountains,” the latter a Lute ballad written by John Dowland which has been re-invented into a more contemporary form. Plus “Sleep”, a moving cover of a composition by WW1 poet and composer Ivor Gurney.
Though Clarke & Walker’s previous work is very much steeped in the the folk tradition – the two in fact won the BBC Folk Award for Best Duo in 2015 – ‘Overnight’ draws just as much inspiration from more-straightforward 1970s AM radio rock like Fleetwood Mac or Neil Young as they do from folk-rockers like Fairport Convention or Joni Mitchell.
‘Overnight’ Full Track Listing:
01. Nine Times Along
02. Something Familiar
03. Sweet The Sorrow
04. Dawn Of The Dark
05. Dark Turn Of Mind (Gillian Welch cover)
06. Weep You No More Sad Fountains (traditional English ballad)
07. The Light Of His Lamp
09. Milk and Honey
10. The Waning Crescent
12. Light Of Day
13th Aug – Winchester, Boom Town Fair – UK
27th Aug – Thame, Towersey Festival – UK
28th Aug – London, National Theatre – UK
3rd Sept – Salisbury, End Of The Road Festival – UK
7th Sept – Boston MA, Club Passim – USA
8th Sept – New York NY, Rockwood Hall – Stage 3 – USA
9th Sept – New York NY, Rockwood Hall – Stage 3 – USA
10th Sept – Philadelphia PA, Tin Angel – USA
13th Sept – Toronto ON, The Dakota – CANADA
16th Sept – Bloomington IN, Lotus World Music & Arts Festival – USA
17th Sept – Chicago IL, Hungry Brain – USA
18th Sept – Milwaukee WI, Colectivo Back Room – USA
19th Sept – Minneapolis MN, Turf Club – USA
1st Oct – Derby, Derby Folk Festival – UK
7th Oct – Bristol, Bristol Folk House – UK
8th Oct – Dartmouth, Flavel Arts Centre – UK
12th Oct – Birmingham, Red Lion Folk Club – UK
14th Oct – Cambridge, Cambridge Folk Club – UK
21st Oct – Buxton, Buxton Opera House – UK
22nd Oct – Glasgow, The Hug and Pint – UK
23rd Oct – Leeds, Oporto – UK
24th Oct – Salford, The Eagle Inn – UK
26th Oct – London, Shoreditch Town Hall, UK – [album release show]
28th Oct – Aldershot, West End Centre, UK
29th Oct – Dublin, Upstairs at Whelan’s, IRE
30th Oct – Waterford, venue TBC, IRE
4th-5th Nov – Weissenhauser Strand, Rolling Stone Weekender 2016, GER
Photo credit Jenna Foxton