Our Song of the Day features on the forthcoming debut EP Sleeping Leaves from the JEANES ‘collective’. Since this EP arrived I’ve been keen to share it, so it came as a bonus when we were asked if we’d like to premiere the new video Trees Hugs Bees which you can watch above.
Sleeping Leaves tells stories of breathing trees, sleeping fields and drunken bees. The songs have been brought to life in homes, gardens & summer fields across Europe & America by an enchanting collective of female DIY artists, each lovingly chosen by Russell Jeanes (a graphic designer, film maker & poet from Yorkshire) for their beautifully unique voices.
The vocalist on Trees Hugs Bees is Léa Decan, a talented artist, songwriter, singer who is currently studying illustration in Brussels. Russ found a track of Léa’s called Timothée and then discovered that Léa really loved his poem/song ‘trees hug bees’. Léa developed the song in Paris, Brussels and China. Russ worked separately with Tom Sidebottom on strings richly inspired by English Classical music.
Scott Fraser is a guitarist and was enthusiastic about Russ’ poems/songs from the first, and was absolutely fundamental in their development. Scott crafted guitar patterns from Russell’s initial ideas.
Tom Sidebottom is a Yorkshire based string arranger and music lecturer. Tom has patiently and skillfully developed and recorded arrangements developing Russ’ ideas.
The strings on this arrangement reminded me very much of the late Robert Kirby (Vashti Bunyan, Nick Drake), they’re soulful and melodic and combined with those sweet otherworldly vocals call to mind the pastoral folk music of the 70’s which has inspired a lot of what we cover on FRUK.
We are not alone in our admiration for Russell Jeanes’ folk gems which contain some of the sweetest sounds we’ve heard in a very long time. Tom Robinson was smitten from his first listen and has been incredibly supportive.
‘Nobody out there sounds quite like Russ Jeanes, the taste of honey is almost tangible on Trees Hug Bees. Pure pastoral nectar from the heart of Northern England. Accept no substitute’. Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music.
They say that everyone has a book in them. Perhaps that also applies to music? Russell Jeanes’ EP of songs have been a lifetime in the making. Starting off as sensitive poems written in his adolescence which reveal his love of the natural world, thirty years later the father and husband embarked on a project which would take him and his collaborators seven years of blood, sweat and tears to bring to fruition.
Spurred into action following the discovery of the long lost snippets of recording and poems unearthed when he moved to a cottage nestling in the beautiful woodlands of West Yorkshire, Russell set about converting one of his poems he found sleeping in the leaves of an old book, fittingly The Secret Life of Plants, into a song. Feeling that his own voice was not the right vehicle for the song, Russell went about engaging the talents of a singer he found almost by chance on Soundcloud…but therein lies another story which we hope to share more with you on soon.
The four tracks on this EP will be released complete on 16th June as a physical cd available from Folkstock records website www.folkstockrecords.com and Russell Jeane’s website – www.jeanes.blue. All songs are written and arranged by Russell Jeanes. Strings by Tom Sidebottom and Russell Jeanes. All guitar arrangements by Scott Fraser and Russell Jeanes.