This UK tour presents the Trembling Bells playing, singing and duelling with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy performing a new collection of songs written by the Trembling Bells some of which appear on the forthcoming collaborative album 'The Marble Downs' on Honest Jon's. This will be the first time these songs are going to be performed live.
Trembling Bells lead vocalist Lavinia Blackwall will sing in duet with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. Alex Neilson, the chief songwriter for the Trembling Bells, plays drums, while Simon Shaw on bass and Mike Hastings on guitar make up the pack. Originals, covers and traditionals will be featured in the sets.
With a limited Christmas 7” single already under their belts, Trembling Bells and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy kick off 2012 with a collaborative album of male/female vocal duets.
Alex Neilson has synthesized his love of seat-of-your-pants improv and raw folk into his songwriting with the Bells. While Bonnie has long since shed the Appalachian dirt of his earlier records to enter a fertile period of grace. Now these paths converge on ´The Marble Downs´.
Bonnie has a habit of seeking out commanding female voices and he doubtlessly viewed the pairing with Lavinia Blackwall as a gift. His Southern gent tones provide an intriguing contrast to her archetypal English Folk siren vocals. But the chemistry between them goes beyond the purely musical. Their vocal exchanges remind us that the classic male/female duet is, at its best, a sublimation of love, sex and treachery acted out in flirtatious, freewheeling duels. The songs are mostly Bells’ originals, with two inspired covers and a traditional.
The epic opener, “I Made a Date (With an Open Vein)” rises on a cloud of drums, brass, vocal harmonies and Michael Hastings’ guitar line that drips like electric honey. From there we pass through Grand Ole Opry style sing alongs (“I Can Tell You’re Leaving”), Renaissance fanfares (“Ferrari in a Demolition Derby”), spectral ballads (“Excurions into Assonance”) and full-throttle Psych Rock propulsion (“Ain’t Nothing Wrong with a Little Longing”).
The band also prove themselves to be inventive interpreters of other people’s songs with a penis-shrivelling reading of the traditional “My Husband’s Got No Courage in Him”, a kosmiche revamping of Robin Gibbs’ “Lord Bless All” and a pummeling version of the early Palace song, “Riding”.
The Marble Downs is a triumphant exercise in major key ensemble playing concerned with minor key heartbreak, and a marriage of some of the most mercurial and imaginative musicians of our time.
Then comes the shows which will encompass a special select route around the South West of England with support from Routes South West to take place around the 'Obby Oss' May Day celebrations.
Muldoon's Picnic are a harmony singing group based in Glasgow. Their repertoire ranges from folk-songs to world music to shanties to spirituals to Victorian parlour music. Singing in Bulgarian, Croatian, Georgian, French, Welsh, Cornish, Manx, Breton, Scots Gaelic, Luganda and Sotho. They are a small unit with a big sound.
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