The Basin Stone, Gareth Scott

The Basin Stone

Gareth Scott

Bandcamp.com/Releases

 

 Shrewsbury has always shown an interest in the work of Kimber’s Men. They have been known here ever since those fun days during Shrewsbury Folk Festival when crammed into the Bird In Hand they would sing the night away with their infectious and powerful shanties. So it is always interesting to see what they are up to and if there is any news I ought to bring you. Well across my desk arrived Gareth Scott’s new album, ‘The Basin Stone.’

As far away from his shanty singing as he could possibly be, Gareth has brought to us a new sound, strident,  powerful and as enduring as the granite in his beloved Calderdale. ‘The Basin Stone’ brings a complexity of sound so much more mature than one might expect from a first album. With some remarkable musical backing Gareth doesn’t so much sing and play a few songs for you he takes you on a journey through his Yorkshire home and shares a love befitting of the great poet that he is. Songwriter/Poet? He is both and each hand crafted song has a uniqueness that will mark this out as an important and seminal album.

With a vocal reminiscent of Dick Gaughan crossed with Vin Garbutt, Gareth sings his way through his life’s experience, his observations and emotions. With old friends around him like John Bromley, Neil Kimber and Steve Smith, (all from Kimber’s Men:) Alice Jones, Roger Burnett and Simon Chantler Jenny Bromley and Andy Greaves and more, this is a strong album and surrounded by such talent one would imagine something a little more top drawer than other CD’s that one has reviewed over the last ten years.

This is not an album that gives you tracks to whistle as you walk around the supermarket, the best way to listen to and actually hear this album is in a quiet room with minimal interruptions; so one can submerge oneself into the sound scape that Gareth is very cleverly creating. It is a serious piece of work and for that it holds an increased appeal for those who want to think a little more about what they are hearing.

There is a ruggedness about this album. It is a reflection on Gareth’s Yorkshire; a Yorkshire that belongs in the woods and dales, valleys and hills, a Yorkshire that has shaped and created our history and consequently ourselves. It is about a Yorkshire steeped in history, myth and folklore. It is the Yorkshire that has seen a struggle for bread and seen riots and protests. It is a Yorkshire alive with beauty and freedom. All of this comes from Gareth’s tracks and his writing. An album that has taken six years to create had better be good, luckily this one is.

One is of the mind that Gareth would like the listener to think and to understand. He has no axe to grind and no vitriol to spread, these are just the feelings and notes of a 21st Century Yorkshireman.

As for the production of the album the friends and professionals he has used on each track have brought so much more in the way of riches. Be it Simon Chantler’s Fiddles on Fiddlewood, or Roger Burnett’s  incredible percussion in The Basin Stone, it might be Christopher Smith’s in drums in Violetta or Mr.John Wilson’s piano in Bluebird Conversations there is some delightful musical moments and phrases from all the artists and it seems not only do they understand this music they so beautifully and stylishly all add a little something extra something, something  a little bit magical.

The harmonies are something that this reviewer was thrilled with. Pharaoh is a fine example of this with Jenny Bromley and Agnus Dei providing second vocals and harmonies. It is so powerful and understated making it even more appealing.

Gareth has written all the tracks apart from The Two Magicians and Death and The Lady. With Roger Burnett’s percussion creating the heartbeat, Gareth is joined by Mike Beeke’s Border Pipes and Recorders, Second Vocal Alice Jones, Andy Greaves on Mandolin and Simon Chantler’s fiddles. The combination of the two tracks is a master stroke, as the songs belong together. They add to the mysticism of the area and a reminder of where we have all come from. It was these songs that intrigued and maybe even scared our forebears. Great treatment of the songs and Gareth’s voice is so well suited to the effect he is looking for. Excellent.

This is an album that needed making. It is an important piece of work. It is cerebral and sublime and if this is the calibre of song and poetry that falls from Gareth’s pen, one hopes his pen has plenty of ink. It is a shame that due to social distancing it will be hard for Gareth to tour and promote his album. So he has put it all on Bandcamp the whole album is available for listening to then one has the choice of buying a download or the CD.

Gareth Scott is a name that will become much wider known. Festival organisers and folk clubs cannot ignore this man and his unique style will become as recognisable as many of the great voices that have gone before us.

This is a four star review.

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. Follow hos blogspot at https://owenscribblerlewis.blogspot.com

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