Toby Hay graced us with his debut album, The Gathering, last year. An earthy gem which, in his review, Thomas Blake declared it as “a stunning turning point in what we have come to call folk music. A beautiful, frank and mysterious statement.”
Praise doesn’t come higher but in the interim Toby has been hard at work getting ready to deliver his next instalment – The Longest Day.
As nature writer Robert Macfarlane, who penned the liner notes for The Gathering album, observed: ‘the world’s dew gleams on this music, but the world’s dust swirls through it too.’ Now Hay returns with The Longest Day, recorded live over four days in Giant Wafer studios in Wales and mixed by Toby’s brother Tim. Its release coincides with the summer solstice (21st June), and it is another bright offering, both more celebratory and more urgent than its predecessor. To celebrate the news, the first single is released today, accompanied by a video featuring footage of Rhayader Carnivals and Elan Valley from 1963 and 1964 – shot by Noel and Alan Lewis. It’s also our Song of the Day.
Hay’s distinctive sound often comes from a desire to make his guitar sound like another instrument altogether. “The guitar is set up to play in some very unusual tunings and my technique would probably make a classical player wince. But it is mine, and I love it.”
He engages with landscapes and their inhabitants, and while The Gathering painted a musical portrait of Hay’s home, the scope of The Longest Day is broader.
We’ll be bringing you more soon. In the meantime, The Longest Day is available to pre-order via Bandcamp.