It’s getting mighty crowded in the psych-folk district right now. So to stand out you need that little something else … enter Sally Anne Morgan. A fiddler, banjo player and vocalist with a growing reputation as a member of the Black Twig Pickers and the duo House and Land, the time is so right for Sally Anne to step out on her own journey with the release of her first solo album, Threads (available from September 11th via Thrill Jockey), which we reviewed here.
We have already had hints of the rich authenticity of Morgan’s earthy nu-folk with the two preview tracks, the jangling guitar lilt of ‘Thread Song’ and the delicate intricacy of ‘Garden Song’. The third single ‘Polly on the Shore’ tumbles in more forcefully, a breezily fresh revision of the traditional English folk staple that has been given the treatment over the years by Carthy, the Fairports and, more obscurely, 70s’ hopefuls Trees.
It’s a glorious take on this fine old song, gently coaxed along by an insistent rhythmic canter and lifted to new places by the double picking chimes of an inseparable guitar/ banjo partnership. The rich warm clarity of Sally Anne Morgan’s voice completes the sound and tells the story, inspired as much by bold precision Shirley Collins as the gutsy strength of Gillian Welch.
It’s no wonder that Threads has been so eagerly anticipated. Sally Anne Morgan’s music refreshingly injects surprise and tension into a traditional soundscape in much the same way as Sam Amidon or the much missed Trembling Bells. It’s there waiting to be picked up.