This site too slow? Try a mirror  --  Subscribe to the Guide  --  Find artist:
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

Smoke Fairies


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Beautiful & fierce. Early music contemporary folk with a strong Americana/country blues influence, later more altpop/rock

Status:

Most recent release, Wild Winter (seasonal, 2014); most recent usual release Smoke Fairies (2014)

See also:

Smoke Fairies's site

Smoke Fairies's MySpace page

Comparisons:

If Loreena McKennitt and 16 Horsepower had children that formed a country/blues folk duo heavily influenced by Mazzy Star

Covers/own material:

Mostly own, occasional covers

General comments:

Smoke Fairies are Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies, a blues/folk/country/Americana duo that have been singing together since high school, and their gorgeous harmonies feel as instinctive as that. Both singers have lovely, powerful, expressive voices, perfect for their heavily melancholic sound. Since the instant I first heard "Living with Ghosts," a song off their first single, I have been obsessed with this band, listening to them frequently and avidly collecting their releases. My love of this band is a little funny because I usually hate anything that has a hint of country to it. Their early music is definitely country-Americana-bluegrass-flavoured folk. I blame it on the gorgeous harmonies and songwriting. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

On the quiet side, which made the background chatter of the venue quite annoying. Beautiful work. The vocal quality reminded me a bit of Loreena McKennitt, but the sensibility is all different—more like the dark Americana ballads of a band that would open for Cowboy Junkies. It made an interesting impression on me—though it probably shouldn't have—that a band from London would write a song about the Erie Lackawanna.
     Thanks for recommending them, Neile! (10/10, psfblair@ix.netcom.com) I heard them on their U.S. tour when they were opening for Rasputina, and they were brilliant. It gave me chills to hear those voices live. The renditions of their songs were very like the recorded versions but well worth hearing. They were subdued and not very talkative on-stage, so the music was the focus, as well it should be. They are so impressive. (08/11, Neile)

Recommended first album:

Any, really: Ghosts I & II Through Low Light and Trees or Blood Speaks for their folkier sound; Smoke Fairies for their slightly more pop sound

Recordings:


Ghosts

Release info:

2010—453 Music (U.S. only; vinyl & digital only)—453-001

Availability:

U.S. or or from the Smoke Fairies's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Katherine Blamire—vocals, guitar
Jessica Davies—vocals, guitar

Comments:

This compiles Smoke Fairies's ep and single releases to date (with the exception of the Third Man Records 7" single, "Gastown"): the 2-track "Living With Ghosts" single (Music for Hereoes HEROES801), the 5-track "Frozen Heart" EP (HEROES901) and the 2-track "Sunshine" single (HEROES901).

It's hard to over-emphasize how wonderful these songs are. I'm not sure they entirely hold together as an album since my experience of them was on the eps and singles as they appeared, but these songs are brilliant. They placed Smoke Fairies immediately on the very short list of favourite musicians I've discovered in recent years. (Neile)


Through Low Light and Trees (2010/2011)

Release info:

2010—V2/Cooperative Music—SF001CDX (U.K.); (2011—Year Seven Records— YR7001CDx (U.S.)

Availability:

U.K. and U.S.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Katherine Blamire—guitar, vocals, percussion, piano, Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes
Jessica Davies—guitar, vocals, concertina, Hammond organ

Guest artists:

Noel Walsh—viola (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9)
Kristofer Harris—bass (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Martin Dean—drums (1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9)
Jenny Blamire—recorder (4)

Produced by:

Head

Comments:

Gorgeous harmonies, and again a type of music (country/Americana) that I don't normally care for but I love this. Their vocals and songwriting are irresistible. This is their first official full-length album and it's wonderful, moody, affecting. Give it a chance and it will grow grow GROW on you.
     Both the U.K. and the U.S. come with a limited edition with a second CD of slightly different bonus tracks. I love this band so much that I have purchased both. One of my top ten of the year. (Neile)

Lovely singing. One of the best of 2010. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)


Blood Speaks

Release info:

2012—V2—SF007CDX

Availability:

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Katherine Blamire—vocals, guitars, piano, organ; percussion (9)
Jessica Davis—vocals, guitars; percussion (9)

Guest artists:

Kristofer Harris—bass (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10); drum programming (11)
Neil Walsh—viola; banjo (4); omnichord (6); bass (3)
Robert Wilks—drums; timpani (5, 12); percussion (4, 8)

Produced by:

Head

Comments:

One of my top discs of 2012. It took a while to grow on me, and at first I thought I wouldn't like it as much as their earlier work, but came to love it over time. The songwriting is terrific—a mix of slightly more rocking an strongly mournful. The title track is especially stunning. The vocals throughtout are lovely, as always. A strong collection and highly recommended. (Neile)

This is a Reflection

Release info:

2012—V2—SF009S

Availability:

Limited edition vinyl

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Smoke Fairies fans

Group members:

Katherine Blamire—vocals, guitars
Jessica Davis—vocals, guitars; xylophone, piano (4); wineglasses (5)

Guest artists:

Kristofer Harris—bass
Robert Wilks—drums (1, 3, 4, 5)
Neil Walsh—viola (2, 3)

Produced by:

Kristofer Harris (1, 3); Smoke Fairies (2, 4, 5)

Comments:

This is a five-song EP of covers, including "Do I Need You" by Ann Peebles, "Wish You Well" by Mark Lanegan, "She Sells Sanctuary" buy The Cult, "The Visitors (Crackin' Up)" by Abba, and "Requiem" by Killing Jokes. Fun and interesting, though perhaps not so essential. (Neile)

Ghosts I & II

Release info:

2013

Availability:

Limited Edition

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Katherine Blamire—guitar, vocals, percussion
Jessica Davies—guitar, vocals, percussion

Guest artists:

Andy Newmark—drums (Ghosts I: 1, 5, 7)
Al Mobbs—double bass (Ghosts I: 1, 5, 7)
Neil Walsh—viola (Ghosts I: 1, 5)
Leo Abraham—guitarorgan, mellotron Ghosts I: 2); percussion (Ghosts I: 3, 6, 8; Ghosts II: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8), organ (Ghosts I: 3; Ghosts II: 2, 3, 8); bass pedals (Ghosts I: 3); hurdy gurdy ( Ghosts I: 5, 8; Ghosts II: 1, 5); bass (Ghosts I: 6; Ghosts II: 5, 8); piano (Ghosts I: 6; Ghost II: 8)); mandolin (Ghosts II: 1); accordion (Ghosts II: 1, 9); backing vocals (Ghosts II: 3); harmonium (Ghosts II: 4, 6); electric guitar (Ghosts II: 5)
Una Palissa—viola (Ghosts I: 4, 9; Ghosts II: 6)
Tim Harries—double bass (Ghosts I: 9; Ghosts II: 1, 2, 3, 6)
Ryan Barkataki—drums (Ghosts II: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6)
Ed Harcourt—piano (Ghosts II: 3)

Produced by:

David Coulter (Ghosts I: 1, 5, 7); Leo Abrahams (Ghosts I: 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9; Ghosts II)

Comments:

This is "a collection of A sides B sides & an EP from the recent past." The first disc covers the contents of Ghosts, The second disc is a collection of their most mournful and Americana sounds. (Neile)

Smoke Fairies

Release info:

2014—Full Time Hobby

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Katherine Blamire—vocals, guitars
Jessica Davis—vocals, guitars
Smoke Fairies—Hammond organ (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10); Wurlitzer (1, 3, 7, 10); percussion (1, 3, 5, 10, 11); critter synth (1, 3, 12); piano (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12); mellotron (1, 12); wine glasses (1); drum loops (3); electric pianos (5); tremelo synth (5, 11, 12); synths (9); organ (6, 9, 11); Rhodes (9); drum loop (10); copycat (11)

Guest artists:

Robert Wilks—drums (1, 2, 4, 6, 9); percussion (1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12); electric guitar (12)
Neil Walsh—viola (1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 11); bass guitar (3, 4, 6, 7, 12)
Kristofer Harris—bass guitar (1, 2, 5, 11); 12-string guitar (1); critter synth (2); synth bass (3); percussion (11)
Andy Newmark—drums (3, 5, 7, 10, 12)
James Simpson—bass (9, 10)

Produced by:

Kristofer Harris

Comments:

This album really grew on me. Phew. At first I was worried that with them going more-pop less-folk I wouldn't be as interested in them, but I really enjoy it. With this album Smoke Fairies make their move to pop from their more folky bluesy beginnings, and do it with grace. good songwriting, and ever-gorgeous harmonies. (Neile)

One of the best of 2014. (christina_skov@hotmail.com)


Wild Winter

Release info:

2014—Full Time Hobby—FTH223CD

Availability:

Wide release in 2015

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Smoke Fairies fans

Group members:

Katherine Blamire—vocals; guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7), organ (1, 2, 3, 9), piano (4, 8, 10), synths (5, 10), glockenspiel (8)
Jessica Davies—vocals; guitar (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10), organ (4, 7), critter (4), synths (5, 6)

Guest artists:

Robert Wilks—drums
Perry Neech—bass
Neil Walsh—viola; magic snowman keyboard (1); guitar (3, 5, 6, 7, 10)

Produced by:

Kristofer Harris

Comments:

Not their most distinctive album. There are songs of their own composition and covers of Captain Beefheart and Handsome Family. This was only sold through Rough Trades in the U.K. and didn't get distribution beyond that. I would say it's only worth getting if you can't bear to miss any Smoke Fairies, like me. Some truly gorgeous moments, of course, and their lovely harmonies. The overall effect is of a sad and mellow winter spell moving into a more insistent rock. (Neile)

Further info:

Smoke Fairies contribute a cover of "Alabama" to Harvest revisited: Neil Young's classic album re-recorded exclusively for Mojo [the U.K. music magazine].

There is a live iTunes Festival EP (2011)


Why the ads?


Country Rock

41 - 80 of 98 entries

<<  Ad-Kn  Kr-St  Su-Ze  >>

Click the bullet for speed (drop the menu) or the name for convenience (keep the menu)


>
Alison Krauss

>
Emily Kurn

>
k.d. lang

>
Jennifer Lauren

>
Summer Lee

>
Lenore

>
Lost & Profound

>
Sandy Madaris

>
Dayna Malow

>
Eleni Mandell

>
Mazzy Star

>
Anne McCue

>
Maria McKee

>
Shannon McNally

>
Meredith Meyer

>
Michael-Ann

>
Myshkin's Ruby Warblers

>
Nina Nastasia

>
Nathan

>
Loey Nelson

>
Carrie Newcomer

>
Nerissa & Katryna Nields

>
Carol Noonan

>
Oh Susanna

>
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris

>
Robin Pearl

>
Pilgrim Beware

>
Po' Girl

>
Red Molly

>
Whitney Rehr

>
Lisa Richards

>
Amy Rigby

>
Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris

>
Shivaree

>
Sixteen Horsepower

>
Mindy Smith

>
Smoke Fairies

>
Devon Sproule

>
Jennie Stearns

>
Heather Stewart

<<  Ad-Kn  Kr-St  Su-Ze  >>


Other Genres...
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2015-12-06 20:07:11.
Please request permission if you wish to
reproduce any of the comments in the
Ectophiles' Guide in any context.

The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music is copyright © 1996-2004 by the editors.
Individual comments are copyright © by their authors.
Web site design and programming copyright © 1998-2004 usrbin design + programming.
All rights reserved.