‘Velvet & Stone’ is the self-titled debut release from the Devon-based folk band of the same name, who, in their short career, have had their work compared to the likes of Fairport Convention, Seth Lakeman and Laura Marling. From the outset, it is clear to see why.

The record opens with the dark and haunting folk-noir ‘Fisherman’s Blues’. The song tells a brooding tale describing the perils of working the high seas using creative lyrics that transport the listener into a vivid storm-filled landscape containing a small fishing community that relies on a treacherous ocean for a living, yet also suffers the ultimate loss for that dependency.

Strong stuff indeed!

The more upbeat pop-infused ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘By The Water’ were both released as singles in the run-up to the album release.  Both are vibrant songs that explore relationships; the former about moving on while the latter is about unprejudiced and unconditional love in a safe space.

The band, formed out of a musical partnership between songwriter and guitarist Lara Snowdon and classically trained violinist Kathryn Tremlett, and consisting of Garry Kroll on drums, Kev Jackson on guitar and Paddy Blight on bass, are tight and proficient, and blend together well in the traditional genre.

The musical dynamics between the core duo of Snowdon and Tremlett are central to the sound of the record. Their vocal harmonies blend seamlessly on ‘Breathe’ and ‘Forget About The Rain’ with Tremlett’s violin adding beautiful spine-tingling solos to both. While on the pensive ‘Walls’ Tremlett’s impassioned playing reminds the listener of the work of Fairport Convention’s Ric Sanders and such is her presence on the record it is comparable to the central role Scarlet Rivera played on Bob Dylan’s ‘Desire’ album.

Across nine engrossing songs, the record uses illustrative and articulate lyrics mixed with ethereal and melodic music that takes the listener into the very heart and soul of the characters within the songs.

‘Velvet & Stone’ is available for pre-order via the band website and goes on general release on 2nd August 2019.