One of the best folk records I’ve heard in a long time comes in the shape of ‘Namer of Clouds’ from Kitty Macfarlane. Released in mid-September of 2018, this collection of songs has, rightly so, turned her into one of the most sought after talents in the folk scene.
Hailing from Somerset, Kitty has been writing and performing from a young age, releasing her debut EP, Tide and Time in 2016. Her work has not gone without critical acclaim; she was nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2015 and, in 2017, was a runner up for the Lynsey de Paul Prize for female songwriters. This has led the, now Bristol-based, artist to the release of her debut album, showcasing her songwriting talent on a larger scale.
Folk music has always had the ability to take you far away with it’s encapsulating storytelling. These songs not only stay true to this, but do so on an even deeper level. Many of the tracks are book-ended by natural, found sounds, taken from the shores of Sardinia, Kitty’s native Somerset and anywhere in-between, allowing you to feel like you’re right there with her. The microphones and studios just seem to melt away, leaving you to appreciate the beautiful songwriting at it’s most simple.
Produced by Sam Kelly and Jacob Stoney, the album boasts dynamic arrangements throughout, revolving around the core of Kitty’s pure, bright vocal and acoustic guitar. For me, the highlight of the album is ‘Glass Eel’; a song based on the intriguing migration of the European eel to the Sargasso Sea. Beautiful vocal melodies are intertwined with Harmonies from Sam Kelly and a slowly building arrangement, creating a perfectly atmospheric piece of music at it’s peak. This is by no means the only high point of the record; ‘Sea Silk’ and ‘Frozen Charlotte’ are two more examples of brilliant songwriting and tunes definitely worth hearing.
This was a fantastic album and a joy to listen to. Kitty is touring in October through December and, after hearing these songs, I’ll definitely be heading out to hear them performed live. Find more information about Kitty’s music and upcoming shows on her website; http://www.kittymacfarlane.com/
Review by Zach Johnson