ON a cold and frosty late November evening at the Bury Fusiliers museum, the band Lady Maisery played the final date of their three-week tour across the UK where they promoted their highly anticipated third album Cycle.
BBC Radio 2 folk award nominee Lady Maisery are an English folk vocal harmony trio consisting of award winning musicians and multi instrumentalists Hannah James, Hazel Askew and Rowan Rheingans.
Cycle is easily one of the most impressive folk collections this year. Taking two years to put together, the band said it’s inspired by changes, cycles and seasons. The album is dominated by songs about life’s journey and has a unique style giving us original compositions that blend with traditional material with an added contemporary, political edge.
The show opened with Sing For The Morning written by Rowan Rheingans. The song focused on everything bright and hopeful about a new day, the melody of the violin was bouncy and joyful and the harp represented a beautiful bird song which blended the song together beautifully.
Their harmonies were as precise as ever and was charred with a newfound richness. Lady Maisery have revived and revitalised an almost extinct cultural art called diddling. An ancient European craft of tune-singing which remains their signature move, they incorporated this into Sing for the morning and it made the song truly magical.
The band covered several classic songs throughout the night but their cover of Richard Farina’s The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood was my favourite. It’s a song that has always created the feeling of warmth, which helped in the vast chilly hall of the fusilier’s museum.
Lady Maisery’s cover was no less than stunning. Complimented by the sound of Rheingan’s homemade Banister, a cross between a sitar and a banjo. It gave the tune a hypnotic eastern soul, paired also with Hazel Askew’s deceptively gentle harp, it was perfect in representing the original’s hymnal quality.
The atmosphere of the set was comfortable and casual, the girls chatted to the audience between songs where they told us the tales and inspirations behind them.
The best story of the night had to be behind the song Sheila S 70, Hannah’s grandmother had created a list of 70 things she wanted to achieve before the age of 70 and they were hilarious.
The rest of the set varied from the new songs from Cycle, some old favourites and some incredible covers. The night ended on a beautiful note with song, Land on The Shore, the song was warm and the inclusivity encapsulated the night’s performance.
What a great way to end our tour last night in Bury. Gig 23 of 23. Cycle is launched! Thanks so much everyone. https://t.co/SWxWuB0GMa
— Lady Maisery (@LadyMaisery) November 30, 2016
Something that makes Lady Maisery stand out from the rest is that they are political musicians. Their songs always have an underlying message about the desire for a simple, fairer and more equal world, their covers follow that suite, performing tunes like Diggers Song and Honest Work.
Speaking to Rowan at the end of the set by the Merchandise stand, where I picked myself a copy of Cycle. Rowan told me:
“This tour has been incredible. We all love touring and getting to play this album has been magical, we’ve been putting this album together for about two years and it’s a pleasure to be able to play and share it finally”
Lady Maisery have proved themselves to be one of the most energising and talented live acts around. Their mesmerising vocal harmony, with striking new arrangements of both traditional melodies and original compositions, are beautifully created and stunningly performed. An exquisite album and an exquisite gig.
To find out more about future tour date and albums visit Lady Maiserys website.