Painted Sky – The Key: Single Review

Folk-rock for the 2020s: Brother/sister duo Painted Sky release a joyful song of finally-requited love to prelude their UK Tour

Release Date:  29th September 2023

Label: Gilded Lily Records

Formats: Download

Painted Sky are siblings George and Holly Brandon.  They’ve been together as long as either of them can remember but, up until now at least, they’re each probably better known for their own separate ventures.  Guitarist and vocalist George can often be spotted around the country’s folk clubs and festivals on his solo gigs, whilst Holly is probably best known for being one third of transatlantic folk band, The Magpies.  But, whatever they’ve each been up to, George and Holly are invariably drawn back together and, in 2020, they decided that they’d make a ‘go’ of it with Painted Sky.

As Painted Sky, George and Holly have already enjoyed some considerable success.  Their debut EP, Dawn, was highly acclaimed, and, although the duo is still relatively new to the UK scene, they’ve already performed well-received sets at several festivals, including Towersey, Beardy Folk Festival, Edlefest and Thame Town Music Festival.

And now, as a prelude to their UK Tour, and as a taster for their debut full-length album, From the Blue – scheduled for release in Spring 2024 – Painted Sky are back with a new single – The Key – and it’s a beaut – a slice of folk/rock for the 2020s.

Painted Sky like to combine traditional influences with a contemporary outlook, and The Key typifies that approach.  Written by George, the song is loosely based on the format of traditional songs as The Keys of Canterbury or Marry Me, in which the female object of her would-be suitor’s affections is unmoved by the material gifts he showers upon her, only to be persuaded to open her heart to him once he demonstrates the genuine depth of his feelings for her.  It’s a tried and tested device, and it works.

The Key is a truly joyful affair.  Produced by Blair Dunlop and featuring the drums of Fred Claridge, it’s a lively number with a tune that easily be passed off as genuinely traditional.  George sings with confidence and a commitment that suggests a genuine interest in the outcome of the couple’s intended courtship and Holly chips in with some delightful snippets of fiddle.  The song reaches its climax during the interval in which the lady character gives her consideration to the gentleman’s pledge of undying love – an interval that George and Holly fill with a pacy fiddle tunes that sounds – at least to me – to be of Scottish origin.  It’s a wonderful song, guaranteed to brighten up the most mundane of autumn afternoons!

And, Painted Sky will be performing The Key during their current UK Tour.  You can catch them at:

29th September:          The Temperance, Leamington Spa

1st October:                 The Wight Bear, Bournemouth

4th October:                The Harrison, London

6th October:                FortyFive Vinyl Café, York

7th October:                Staveley Roundhouse, Staveley, Kendal

13th October:              The Mawgawr, Falmouth

15th October:              Bristol Folk House, Bristol

Find out just what we mean about how Painted Sky blend traditional influences with their own contemporary ideas. Watch the official video the the duo’s previous single, The Unquiet Grave, here:

Painted Sky online: Website / Facebook / Instagram

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