FOLK sensation Seth Lakeman will be bringing his unique style of music to selected venues across the country.
The singer songwriter will be showcasing his latest album Word of Mouth and will be returning to the stunning Lichfield Cathedral.
“I visited the cathedral when I was younger,” said Seth. “My cousins live in the area so it’s familiar ground.
“Over the years I have performed in churches and cathedrals but this is much more than that and the first time I have done it on such a large scale.”
Seth’s seventh studio album was recorded at North Tamerton Church in East Cornwall and features the stories of real people and is a defining album in his storied career.
“I was trying to get an ‘atmosphere’ for the album,” said Seth. “I wanted to get the instruments to come to life more so we used the church bells and church organ which has given the album more character and depth.
“The church is the centre for communities and seemed really relevant.
“What’s important about the record is having the confidence to leave in moments where there are mistakes. You can hear the birds, something could be tuned her or there, but there’s no reverb or effects added – just the church.”
Word of Mouth captures the multi-hued brilliance of Seth’s live band which includes Ben Nicholls on double bass and Cormac Byrne on percussion.
Added guest instrumentalists give it depth and drama, and working lives, majestic landscapes, the tragedy of war and the price of revolution are brought to life.
“It’s a credit to having great players who really know what they are doing,” he said.
“It’s almost the complete opposite to building a record in the studio. Sometimes just singing some of the lyrics, looking up at the stained glass window – it was a powerful and emotional feeling. I think it adds to the passion.”
The two-CD album includes a spoken word second disc culled from the interviews whose experiences and stories inspired Seth’s songs.
“Word of Mouth is a spin-off from Tales from the Barrel House but more universal. This album paid homage to the artisans and tradespersons gradually disappearing form the post-industrial world.
“I was chatting to people about the concept of the album and everyone knew someone who had a story to tell including farmers, prisoners in Dartmouth Prison.”
“One poignant song, The Saddest Crowd, is based around an article by a journalist who went to meet the surviving crew members from RMS Titanic who arrived at Plymouth harbour aboard the rescue craft SS Lapland.
Born in Dartmoor, Seth’s father Geoff is a more than capable musician who spent 30 years as a journalist. Perhaps it is his influence which has made the 36-year-old father of twins the excellent interviewer he is.
“I always enjoyed watching dad work – in the pub mostly,” said Seth.
“But it’s really just a fascination with people – being socially aware of the community where you’re from.
“Each of these interviews I’d go away, unpick and unravel it. Obviously there’s artistic licence but the interview becomes the bedrock of the song.
“I taped all the interviews for and used them as a foundation.
“Some are far more literal of these people, some songs are just loosely based on them but they are created on people’s achievements and their voices.”
“I decided to produce a two-CD album because I wanted the listener to be able to hear the interviews of the characters and then hear the songs they inspired.”
There has been a cultural sea change since foot-stomping, fiddle-playing Seth gained national prominence with his Mercury nominated Kitty Jay, his second solo album, which was recorded in his own kitchen.
“Whichever way you go making a record it is always a challenge,” said Seth.
“I love the process of writing and you have to be quite disciplined. Once the tour is over I will be getting my thought process together and would like to record an instrument album next.”
Seth will perform at Lichfield Cathedral on Thursday, February 6, and tickets are available by calling 01543 412121 or logging on to www.lichfieldgarrick.com
Word of Mouth is available to buy from February 3.