Violinist Hannah Elizabeth and guitarist Griff Jameson are an award-winning duo who have developed their own unique brand of melodic folk-pop. Taking their inspiration from the North Yorkshire coast and the harbour town of Whitby, 'Northern Shores and Stories' - their debut release - is full of delightful soundscapes and characters.
Early highlights ‘Endeavour’ and ‘How Long Has It Been?’ both find their inspiration in the art of letter writing. The former, based on archived letters written by Elizabeth Batts, wife of Captain James Cook, while the latter from reading a newspaper article in a cafe lamenting the death of the art of letter writing.
Continuing to explore the folklore of the Whitby area, ‘Dance In The Shadows’ is a dreamy waltz based on the tale of Francis Huntrodds and Mary his wife who were both born on 9th September 1600, later married on the same date, and died within hours of each other some eighty years later on 9th September. Both are buried together in the graveyard of St. Mary’s Church in Whitby, a location that went on to gain worldwide fame almost two hundred years later through the words of Bram Stoker.
Recorded and produced by Stephen MacLachlan, the mix is clear and full of warmth, and the overall package is made complete by artwork designed by Belle Illustration that deserves a full vinyl package release. The musicianship of the duo is exemplary. And, as their instruments blend and weave together in unison their vocals soar in seamless harmony washing over the listener like a warm summer tide.
Without doubt, one of the stand out tracks on the album is ‘Bet and Terry’, an original composition overlaid with an interview with grandmother Elizabeth Goodwin. Detailing her lifelong love affair with her husband Terry, the music perfectly complements the emotion within her narrative of the two childhood sweethearts who met at school and spent their entire life together, raising a family and eventually becoming grandparents.
The humorous ‘Bottomless Beer’ is a classic drinking song inspired by a misunderstanding in a Whitby pub over the costs of a local brew. And, the romantic escapism and longing to quit the rat race of ‘Live By The Sea’ is a theme familiar to most.
‘Northern Shores and Stories’ is a beautiful record that has been lovingly crafted by two musicians who share a love of their art with the landscape around them, and each song is a fascinating vignette full of vivid characters and insights into the folklore of the Yorkshire coastline.