‘Into The Greenwood’ by GentleFolk - a spoken, sung and musical journey through ‘the old woods of England’(September 01, 2015)
Nigel Hoyle (aka Nigel of Bermondsey) approaches folk from an independent, slightly left-field perspective blending folklore, history, story and song into an eccentric and quintessentially English mix. His band, GentleFolk, enable these idiosyncracies to expand with their album ‘Into The Greenwood’ - an amalgam of curiously attractive weird folk with a haunting bucolic fascination that offers a spoken, sung and musical journey through ‘the old woods of England’.
There’s a dreamy, other-world quality to this music augmented by its correlation with historical and pagan essences that recall times when the connection between man and nature was more fundamental. ‘Into The Greenwood’ reveals forgotten ties and re-forges links in an enduring chain that begins with the spoken ‘Into The Greenwood’ before the wraithlike tones of ‘Cernunnos’ give way to the narration of ‘Down Watling Street’ and the medieval-tinged ‘The Blean’. From there, those that take the journey will find narration and song paying homage to a classic English tree ‘The Elm’, recognising the fairy-world with ‘The Hidden People’, recording the dubious death of William Rufus in the New Forest with ‘Blood On The Oak’ and offering a song to the Rowan, ‘All For The Life Of The Land’.
Those stone-hearted people who acknowledge no connection between us and nature, may not give this album the time it deserves, which is a shame, because there’s considerable magic on offer. ‘Into The Greenwood’ has a fragile feel, try too hard and its messages will float away, simply absorb its truths and you could just find what you’re looking for.
Joining Nigel Hoyle in GentleFolk are Sarah Lloyd (fiddle, voice) Ian Kennedy (cello, giant tin whistle, flute, bodhran, voice) and Elizabeth Forrester (Shruti box, voice). Find ‘Into The Greenwood’ here: www.nigelofbermondsey.com
Review: Tim Carroll