the bright young folk 'Beside the Waves of Time' review
Born in Sydney but raised in Scotland, this is the 2nd offering from folk-siren Iona Leigh. A beguiling mix of the traditional and the modern, combined with an eclectic range of influences, Beside the Waves of Time offers something for everyone whilst still maintaining a cohesive feel.
Inspired by an old American folk song, ‘Peaches in the summertime’ is the perfect antidote to the miserable weather. Conjuring up images of sultry summer evenings and wide-open fields, Iona paints a picture of pastoral perfection of fields ‘filled with fine fruit trees’ and rivers both ‘wide and long.’ A prominent drumbeat drives the track forward, but without ever swamping Iona’s vocals or the other harmonic lines.
Mimicking a lover’s wail for their beloved, the mourning cry of a far off whistle sets the scene for the traditional lament ‘Must I be bound.’ Their ghostly qualities bring the album’s cover art to life transporting you to the side of a Highland’s loch covered in fog. Above all this Iona’s incredible voice rings as clear as a bell guiding you to safety across the moors with the vocal harmonies adding extra weight whenever the lyrics demand.
Written whilst meditating ‘Trees’ is less a folk-track and more the melodic outpouring of the soul. One that perfectly demonstrates the reach of Iona’s voice A simple, drone-like accompaniment allows the vocal line to fly free from the constraint of time or key signatures. The end result, a beautiful chant that touches the very inner reaches of your soul.
‘Blow the candle out,’ in contrast, picks up the pace once again. Without doubt one of the catchier tracks on the album, Iona has added her own twist to this tale of a jilted lover. The burst of violin between verses throws different harmonies into the mix
With her hauntingly beautiful voice, unique adaptations and wide reaching sources of inspiration, Iona Leigh has moulded Beside the Waves of Time into the perfect showcase for her incredible talent. An absolute gem of an album.Mary Stokes
Rhythm and Booze - Review - Beside the Waves of Time
Iona Leigh is an Australian born, Scotland based singer-songwriter who blends acoustic guitars, fiddle and pipe to create uplifting airy folk covering such lyrical topics as nature, legend and folklore.
The album opens with Peaches In The Summertime, a lovely track that introduces Iona's gorgeous breezy vocals over a subtle acoustic guitar backing, the track, following on from this slight yet attractive opening number we're taken on a ride of stripped guitars, restrained violin and tapped drums in the shape of The Girl He Left Behind. Once again Iona delivers a lovely whilst the light instrumentation provides the perfect setting for the track.
The rest of the album continues in much the same vein, Must I Be Bound adds pipes to the already potent mix further bewitching the listener, Blackbird is a beautiful combination of plucked guitar, piano and violin, whilst White Dove adds beautiful vocal harmonies to the longest and perhaps most evocative track on the album.
The album simply washes over the listener, lush vocals and understated instrumentation create unique imagery and as I sat here listening intently my mind created visions of the sea crashing upon the shore in the early hours of the morning, walking in a deep green forest taking in the surroundings and other such vivid pictures and dreams.
Beside The Waves Of Time is one of those albums you have to surrender your senses to completely, allowing Iona's voice to take you on a wonderous journey of discovery. Iona Leigh bewitches and intoxicates with her stunning take on folk.
Thank you Rythm & Booze.