Out on November 27th is the new album from Jazz/Folk guitarist James Kitchman and vocalist Sylvia Schmidt – ‘As Long As Songbirds Sing’, and ahead of it, the pair have released their debut single, the Anne Briggs inspired ‘Lowlands’.
On the origins of their version of the song – which Briggs sung on her seminal Topic Records EP The Hazards of Love (1964), they say “We were particularly inspired by the Anne Briggs version which restored the ballad character of the song”, with Sylvia continuing, “’Lowlands’ has always felt very personal and relevant to me. Having experienced mental health issues in the past, I felt connected to its depth of darkness. The song evokes not only the loss of a loved one, it also speaks to a loss of self and one’s vision of the future. I hope our re-working of the song will compel people to connect with it, as they have done for centuries.”
It’s difficult to know what is the most engaging part of the pairs version – Kitchman’s rolling electric soundscapes, which bleed into eachother as they sparkle and weave, before melting into a darker place, or Schmidts emotive, resonant and beautiful vocal, as she tells the story of a ghostly sailor who seeks out his lover in a dark dream to foretell his death. Either way, it’s lovely stuff.
Check it out, here, alongside the beautifully shot accompanying visuals.