Various Artists – Stick in the Wheel Present: English Folk Field Recordings, Vol. 2


fromhereAt the heart of folk music is a bunch of motherfuckers frequently unseen just trying to tell the world that they exist, they matter, and they’ve got a story to tell. It’s easy to pass by a vagrant with a dirty face, begging for change. We’ve got to. Because, hell, if we soften up those iron guts and business savvy hearts we’d have nothing left, right? Right? “They’re just going to use it on booze and drugs,” I used to say while half in the bag and high as hell. Fucking moron. But when you hear a heavily accented voice belt out a traditional song in a pitch of pure trance-like longing, you’d have to be a goddamned sociopath Wallstreet working Stalin robot to ignore that shit. It’s part of the beauty and the power of music. You listen to someone’s song and, for some fucking reason, it’s easier to see them as human. You can picture them laughing with friends at a stupid joke, crying alone so others won’t see, and the fear and excitement they go through as they continue trudging through this muggy shit we call life.

Stick in the Wheel is a band I’ve already talked about because they’re awesome. What makes them even more awesome are these collaborative albums. This is the second of the bunch (thus why it’s got a “volume-fucking-two” near the end of the title). These albums are all about being legit. Fuck heavy production, fuck big studios, and fuck everything about a heartless music industry pumping out whatever sells best for cash. This album has heavy hitting musicians doing what they do best. I could go through this list one by one and stream out award names and accolades till you pissed yourself. But I’d prefer if you just took a listen for yourself. They’re good. Trust me. You’ve got a line of top class British musicians telling you about their little slice of home. These songs open up about these people, their lives, and their concerns.

This is music for the sake of music. It’s recorded and mixed on site within small rooms. It’s an array of fantastic musicians singing songs of their homeland during a trying time. No, they don’t sing songs of their homeland cause they’re narrow-minded douche bags that think all immigrants are going to take their jeeeerrrrbs! There’s a huge difference between loving your dog and locking that shit in the basement and not letting anyone else pet it. This is about looking at the tree in your front yard and saying, “You know what? I like that fucking tree. I’m sure there are better trees out there, but I pass this tree every fucking day and I fucking like it. So here’s a song about that fucking tree I called ‘That Fucking Tree.’” These are English folk field recordings during a tumultuous time in the their world. If you want to understand those affected, it’s worth a listen.

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