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Friday 12 November 2021

CD Review: Seth Lakeman's Make Your Mark - Heart On The Sleeve Missive From A Unique Talent To His Listeners

Seth Lakeman likes new beginnings, from his Mercury Music Prize in 2005 for Kitty Jay, through many collaborations, solo albums and his time spent accompanying Robert Plant in the studio and on stage. But his latest offering, Make Your Mark, arrives on the back of an enforced eighteen months off the road due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the country emerged from lockdown, Seth entered the studio and self-produced a fourteen song set that covered a number of topics from the environment to love, death and self-belief.

"The pandemic gave me a real determination to come out musically stronger and I really dug deep into myself for this album," says Seth. 

"Being able to record and play with the band again was really quite spiritual."

Opener Hollow sounds strident and somewhat angry at the world .. or more than likely, angry at what the world's let itself become.

Maybe it's an age thing. Seth is now looking at the world from the slightly wobbly platform of middle-age. A time when an artist as driven and productive as Seth can produce their most in-depth and profound work. 

It's no-doubt a massive bonus to have such tried and tested musicians on board.

Seth Lakeman - Higher We Aspire

There's long-time bassist Ben Nicholls, who has toured the world with Seth since the early days plus Benji Kirkpatrick (Bellowhead, Faustus) on bouzouki, banjo and mandolin. 

Plymouth-based musician Alex Hart adds her backing vocals and Toby Kearney, principal percussionist at the Birmingham Conservatoire, is on drums.

Their collective contributions to the project are there for all to hear on the single, Higher We Aspire. Another call to arms for humanity: 'The higher we aspire / The further we can go.'

Other highlights of Make Your Mark include:

The Giant - driving fiddle led folk storytelling. Seth's playing seems to get wilder, yet more focused, with age.

Bound To Someone -  Beautiful melodic folk tale with a female backing singer who complements Seth's folk-inflected vocals. 

Fallen Friend - Sounds like a seafaring tale of those lost but forever remembered. Bonds shared and declared. Souls lost but never abandoned.

Sadly there wasn't a lyric sheet with my review copy of Make Your Mark. So it seems wrong for me to second guess them.

The lyrics are dense and wordy. I'd like to know the origins of theses finely crafted tales. Seemingly Seth is immersed in literature and the oral tradition of folklore.

This isn't a one-stop shop for the Instagram and TikTok generation. It's a cycle of songs to return to again and again

It's a manifesto of sorts. A heart on the sleeve missive from a unique talent to his listeners. Open your ears and dive into Make Your Mark, you won't be disappointed.

Seth Lakeman's new album 'Make Your Mark' is released on 19th November 2021. To pre-order and/or check-out the different formats CLICK HERE.

by: Mike Cobley




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