Hello and welcome to my Sunday Recommendation. Thanks for joining me. Every week I read great wildlife and nature books, stumble upon engrossing websites and hear wonderful new music. This is my chance to bring you carefully curated recommendations of all the best I’ve experienced – every Sunday. If it’s folk, or independent, or about wildlife, nature or Orkney, I may love it, and so may you.
The Colour of Night by Ninebarrow
This week I’ve been enjoying listening to the new album by Ninebarrow called The Colour of Night. I’ve previously recommended their album A Pocket Full of Acorns:
The first thing you notice about Ninebarrow’s new album is just how sumptuous it sounds, because the recording and engineering are fabulous, as is the musicianship and the interplay of voices. Jon and Jay’s voices are a delight and on The Colour of Night the choice of arrangements and instruments are a triumph.
The album starts with House, a song they featured in their series of lockdown concerts during the pandemic. The subjects of the songs they have included encompass memory, nature, exploration, and love and loss. There is a mixture of self-written songs, musical adaptions of poems and cover versions of favourite songs by other artists.
Here’s what Jon and Jay have to say about it:
Welcome to album number five! This collection is released in the tenth year since we picked up a ukulele and decided to have a go at singing some songs together as a duo. We certainly feel like we’ve come a long way since those earliest days – we’re packing a few more instruments in the car for a start! – and we feel incredibly blessed to have received so much love and support from our beloved ‘Barrow Bods’. We look forward to making much more music for you, for many years to come!
Ninebarrow make a living through their music, with the addition of walking guidebooks to Dorset, group holidays with walking, music, and gourmet food, and more. They’re a constant source of interest and delight. Here’s the album on YouTube:
It’s clearly much better for them and much better for your conscience if you buy it from their shop.
My favourite song on the album is probably the opener, House, written by Patrick Wolf:
“Oh I love this house, I love this house
Gives me the greatest peace I’ve ever known
Oh I love to hear those conkers fall
Smash on morning Southwark stone”
Ninebarrow were brave enough to tackle a Nick Drake song, which is often a foolhardy thing to do, given how personal, intimate and inimitable Nick Drake’s performances are, but their performance of River Man takes it to fresh places and is, happily, a recreation. It’s a romantic album which appeals to the romantic in me. Maybe it’ll appeal to the romantic in you, too.
Ten years and five albums in, Ninebarrow are still creating wonderful albums, great memories and fascinating performances. Do check them out if you are curious. I did, and my life’s been better for knowing their music.
That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with more recommendations of things you might adore next Sunday. In the meantime, I wish you a great week. Keep safe, everyone.