|Megson — In A Box|
Megson — In A Box
•–• “Although it’s tempting to put In A Box down to an, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” work ethic, Megson’s modus operandi is much more engaged and switched on than that. This isn’t an album that simply follows a formula, but another vibrant and vital collection of songs, carefully chosen and combined with wit and panache. It will make you think, make you laugh, give you goose bumps and maybe a tear in the eye. In A Box is a veritable treasure chest.” — Simon Holland
Born: Middlesbrough / Cambridgeshire (2004)
Location: London, England
Album release: 12/05/2014
Record Label: EDJ Records
01. Clifton Hall Mine 4:19
02. Bet Bessley & Her Wooden Man 4:43
03. Charlie The Newsmonger 4:02
04. The River Never Dies 4:41
05. Songs To Soothe A Tired Heart 5:10
06. Old Folks Tea 3:45
07. Dirty Clothes 3:35
08. Still I Love Him 4:14
09. Moses Carpenter 4:02
10. In A Box 5:55
Ξ≡Ξ Treble BBC Folk Award nominees and treble Spiral Award winners Megson release their first major studio album in four years — 'In A Box'. The most distinctive, inventive and charismatic duo on the folk circuit:
•–• Stu Hanna (Mandola, Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, Guitar & Vocals)
•–• Debbie Hanna (Vocals, Whistle, Accordion)
are joined by special guests including English folk giant Seth Lakeman, singer & artist Jess Morgan (who designed the albums artwork) and three members of Cambridgeshire's rising band The Willows — Jade and Cliff Ward and dobro player Ben Savage. 'In a Box' unearths a mix of sparkling traditional song arrangements and original compositions telling of life's milestones from cradle to grave. Switching throughout from humour to pathos, it showcases their savvy lyrics, renowned harmonies and skilled musicianship. Shot through with a liberal dose of their trademark Teesside roots, the pair's sixth CD is their first studio album since the acclaimed 'The Longsho't and perhaps more than ever before highlights their adept juxtaposition of grittiness and sensitivity.
Artist Biography by Andrew Leahey
Ξ≡Ξ Megson features the talents of Stu Hanna and Debbie Hanna–Palmer, two British folk musicians who first met at a choir rehearsal in northern England. Raised in Middlesbrough, Debbie had grown up singing and later enrolled at Leeds University, where she earned a degree in music. A postgraduate stint at Trinity College earned her some local acclaim as a classically trained soprano, although she later shifted her focus to folk music alongside her future husband. A native of Billingham, Stu Hanna had played in a pop–punk band before meeting Debbie, and the two launched Megson in 2004.
♣ Megson toured England for several years, making stops at several folk festivals while earning warm recognition from outlets like The Guardian, The Independent, and BBC Radio. They also formed their own label, edj., which they used to release such albums as 2007’s Smoke of Home and 2008’s Take Yourself a Wife. • http://www.allmusic.com/
♣ “Over the past decade, husband and wife duo Stu and Debbie Hannah have been a fixture on the gig circuit, taking a decidedly DIY approach to the music business. Everywhere the play they seem to charm audiences, with their stories and songs, leaving them with a smile and clutching a CD. In a Box counts as their seventh album overall in a decade of impressive music making.
♣ More often seen as a whizz kid producer for various folk acts, the likes of Lucy Ward, The Young ’Uns and Faustus, it’s a rare treat to see Stu reunite with Debbie for a record which is, in their own words, “inspired by major events of life — birth, death, love and the passing of time.“
Many of the tracks have their origins in the North East, which given Debbie’s background in classically trained singing and Stu’s past adventures in punk bands (and prog according to Wikipedia), get a thoroughly original treatment and slant, not least in the tones of the warm Teeside brogue.
♣ Basing their compositions around their multi–instrumental skills, they are joined by three members of upcoming Cambridgeshire band The Willows, plus there’s also a Seth Lakeman guest appearance on the ’Lakeman–like’ Bet Beesley & Her Wooden Man taken from ’Songs Of The Bards Of The Tyne’ — all about young hinny Betty Beasley and her humorously calamitous marriage and what Faustus would probably sound like if they were from Teeside.
♣ It’s the first of several songs with a narrative set amongst North East roots and from local scribes. There’s a contribution again from Timmy Armstrong (’The Pitman Poet’) whose work and words they have used in the past, this time on the delightfully quirky Old Folks Tea. All “white bread well buttered”, jam and cakes, and promises to meet again next year (with the somewhat jarring and sobering proviso, if we live till next year), it sums up in one song the range and wealth of emotion and feelings the whole record induces. If nothing else, it will cause no end of debate over the definition of ’teacake’ included in the liner notes….
♣ The constant juxtaposition of subject matter is a thread which runs through the album; the solemnity of the true story of the Clifton Hall mine disaster in Salford which opens the record and together with the likes of the never ending flow of stories by the River Tees in The River Never Dies, sit against the fond yet throwaway childhood memories in Dirty Clothes, where the reminiscences over picking armies, showing off to the lasses and nicking golf balls, slowly develop into repaying student loans, jobs, wives and the slipping away of our lives.
♣ Ending the album is the self–composed title track which invokes all those thoughts about what we gather and collect as our lives pass us by. It’s delivered as a conversation between a couple — recording all the things you’d say as you look through the possessions you’ve gathered over your lifetime — “all the things you’ve got, stuck up in the loft in a box” — which inevitably end up in a car boot sale yet “won’t compare to the price you pay for all those memories, stored in a box. In A Box is a travelogue of a record, which like those old boxes of photos and long lost memories, opens up more and more with each listen. A phrase here or a line there, it’s a delightful piece of work which will resonate with many listeners at many different junctures.“
•–• Un bel album du couple anglais.
Ξ≡Ξ The most original duo on the British folk scene.’ — Robin Denselow — The Guardian
Ξ≡Ξ ‘A force in the folk revival’ — Neil Spencer — The Observer
Ξ≡Ξ ‘Simply Brilliant’ — The Sunday Express
Ξ≡Ξ Stu Hanna (Vocals, Octave Mandola, Tenor Banjo, Guitar) & Debbie Hanna (Vocals, Accordion, Whistle) are the husband & wife duo MEGSON.
Ξ≡Ξ Named after a dead dog & comprising a former punk and classically trained soprano, MEGSON were an unusual commodity on the London acoustic scene of the early noughties. In 2004 they quietly released their debut album ON THE SIDE on their own EDJ label. Not expecting much, they quickly won fans in Radio 2 DJ Bob Harris and the then rising star of the UK Folk Scene Seth Lakeman. Radio sessions and support tours soon followed. 2007 saw the duo turn professional with the release of their second album SMOKE OF HOME. However, it was their third TAKE YOURSELF A WIFE which, taking inspiration from their Teesside heritage, established the duo as “A force in the folk revival” — (The Observer).
Ξ≡Ξ The following years saw three BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Nominations, three spiral earth awards, international tours and the release of the critically acclaimed THE LONGSHOT. “The most original duo on the British folk scene” said the Guardian, “A marriage made in Heavan” said Songlines. They wowed fans with performances at Cambridge Folk Festival, Green Man Festival, Larmer Tree Festival and all across the UK, even winning over passengers of the tugboat MV Ella in Hartlepool.
♣ The birth of a baby girl in 2011 wasn’t enough to slow down the duo with the release of WHEN I WAS A LAD — A Collection of Children’s Folk Songs, and the formation of the unique FAMILY FOLK SHOW series. And during all this time, Stu even managed to get involved with other artists producing records for LUCY WARD, FAUSTUS, THE WILLOWS, THE YOUNG’UNS & SHOW OF HANDS.
♣ 2014 saw the release of IN A BOX, their much anticipated brand new studio album. Featuring guest performances by Seth Lakeman , Jess Morgan & The Willows it was not only named one of the Best Folk Albums of 2014 by The Telegraph but also The Sunday Express — ALBUM OF THE WEEK.
Press: Jane Brace www.janebrace.co.uk tel : 01243 789554 • email: email@example.com
Agent: Debbie Hanna firstname.lastname@example.org
Ξ≡Ξ Robin Denselow • Thursday 15 May 2014 21.30 BST • Score: ***
Ξ≡Ξ SIMON HOLLAND on 14 MAY, 2014 •
Ξ≡Ξ David Honigmann • May 9, 2014 6:57 pm • Score: ***
|Megson — In A Box|