The Wilderness Yet – What Holds The World Together: Album Review

A new outlook on folk composition is admirably heard on What Holds The World Together by The Wilderness Yet.

Release date: 21st July 2022

Label: Scribe Records

Format: Digital / CD

If you’re looking for something to warm you up for the oncoming festival season this is the ideal album for you. Picture yourself in your fold-up chair, refreshing glass of what you like most, a warm breeze wafts your newly purchased festival t-shirt, sunglasses donned, factor 50 applied and gentle murmurings of a contented audience. This is what The Wilderness Yet evoke with this highly accomplished piece of music, heavily inspired by environmental issues and their appreciation of traditional songs and tunes this is a refreshing listen preparing you for a summer of folk.

Thrusting us into English folklore is the jolly jig The Wild Northeaster, using a Charles Kingsley poem Ode To The Northeast Wind, where an Irish lilt cleverly merges with the words to The Blast Of The Wind. This jaunty and cheerful opening to the album reflects fiddler, bass player and vocalist Rowan Piggot’s musical roots.  There is a melancholy feel to the acappella harmonies on three of the tracks: Old Brock, Banks Of The Bann (done beautifully on Damien O’Kane’s Areas Of High Traffic album) and Emigrantvisa. All of them are beautifully sung. 

All the songs reflect the close interaction between humans and the natural world animals, the environment and other humans. They also have a lovely blend of traditional songs given new arrangements with songs like The Carol Of The Flood, a song they were commissioned to write,  that highlights how man-made waterways have created new wildlife habitats in the Sheffield area. 

Rowan’s fiddle prowess and sensitive lyrics are clearly shown on the Midnight Accountant/The Optimist, while the beginning of The Last Shanachie uses a fascinating wax cylinder recording of the Piggott brothers’ great-great grandfather, who was a shanachie (a storyteller who has passed on traditional Irish stories).  This song outlines the detailed research involved to seek out tunes and stories around which they weave their magical arrangements. Despite the heavy accent on environmental interactions, Rosie has also penned a lovely romantic valentine gift to Rowan with All Of The Gods as they show an adeptness at blending tunes and poetical song, selecting verses from different versions is shown with great aplomb on T For Thomas.

The Wilderness Yet are Rosie Hodgson – vocals, banjo, Rowan Piggott – vocals, fiddles, double bass, Philippe Barnes, -voice, guitar, flute and Joe Danks – bodhran, percussion. Their love for traditional folk music runs deeply throughout the album and their modern interpretations are a refreshing joy to behold.

Their unique compositional style and skill has been witnessed on the festival trail already this summer but an event to look forward to for locals will be their appearance at the Barlow, Edgworth in October 2022.

The Wilderness Yet: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

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