HOUSE & LAND – Song For Ewe

House & Land photo by Katrina Ohstrom

“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a North Carolina based duo called House & Land featuring a guitarist that’s already delivered one of my favourite albums of the year so far, the finger-pickingly brilliant Sarah Louise with the emollient yet striking “Nightime Birds and Morning Stars”. The other half of House & Land is fiddler/banjoist extraordinaire Sally Anne Morgan (also of Black Twig Pickers) and together they’ve produced a sublime second album of latent pastoral power and ley-line folk punk called “Across The Field” which is out this Friday on the always spot-on Thrill Jockey Records. These two truly are the top of their field which is why I’m honoured to have them here on VS, welcome back Sarah, hello Sally and introducing House & Land

Check out their empowering reinterpretation of traditional folk standard “Carolina Lady” where original lyrics which depicted the “titular lady misogynisticly as a prize to be won” have been stripped away and supplanted by a sumptuous instrumental improv where guitar and fiddle dovetail seamlessly…

On social media, Sarah Louise champions an alternative American songbook – indigenous music that is truly from the land, a land not just of her forefathers but her foremothers, and it is in this spirit that “Across The Field” reinterprets and reinvigorates traditional tunes from Appalachia, the Ozarks, and the UK and combines serenity and urgency. Imbibed with unorthodox but expert arrangements, it’s a music that genuflects to the past and yet faces a brave future of folk.

“Two Sisters” and its polyrhythmic potency is a result of Louise imitating on the electric guitar patterns that usually emit from an oscillating modular synthesiser, while as you might expect from an SL record there is a rich sonic tapestry of drones, psych-drenched reverb and majestically understated minimalism. House & Land also call into action an array of instruments ranging from the glockenspiel, double tin whistle to the redoubtable recorder.

Since releasing their debut self-titled album “House & Land” in 2016, Sarah and Sally have played with the likes of British folk firebrands Shirley Collins and Carole Pegg, plus French harpist and hurdy gurdy maestro Emmanuelle Parrenin, and their heroes work has not only helped shape theirs, it also features in their “songs for ewe”, so without further ado…

Sally: Emanuelle Parrenin – “Voyage Migrateur”

“We both fell in love with Emmanuelle Parrenin when we heard the reissue of her phenomenal 70s French folk album Maison Rose. And then we got to meet her and hear her play at a small festival in Denmark, where she’s still slaying on the hurdy gurdy and various zithers. I love this album and how it layers all these medieval instruments to create such a dreamy soundscape”

Sarah: Gila – “This Morning”

“Gila was a krautrock band that shared members with Popol Vuh but had really limited output. I love the sunny feel of this song, threaded with mundane observations that suggest a slow pace and attention to life moment-by-moment. I love the unique use of cymbals and heavenly guitar tones – contrasted with tropey 60s structure and harmony vocals. It just makes me feel good!”

THANKS SO MUCH TO SARAH LOUISE & SALLY ANNE MORGAN AND TO MATT FIDLER AT THRILL JOCKEY

“ACROSS THE FIELD” BY HOUSE & LAND IS OUT THIS FRIDAY 14TH JUNE ON THRILL JOCKEY. LINK BELOW…

https://thrilljockey.com/products/across-the-field

YOU CAN ALSO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT “NIGHTTIME BIRDS & MORNING STARS” BY SARAH LOUISE ON HER TJ PAGE HERE…

http://thrilljockey.com/artists/sarah-louise

And while you’re here, please check out Sarah Louise’s “song for ewe” from last year…

Author: Nick Hutchings

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment