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Lisa Knapp


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Beautiful & fierce experimental traditional folk

Status:

Most recent release, Till April is Dead: A Garland of May (2017)

See also:

Lisa Knapp's site

Lisa Knapp's bandcamp page

Lisa Knapp's facebook page

Comparisons:

Kathryn Williams, Bill Jones, Kate in the Kettle

Covers/own material:

Traditional, own, and co-written

General comments:

Lisa Knapp does mostly oddly playful, stripped-down versions of traditional and neo-traditional English folk. There's something fragile and powerfully evocative about her versions which I'm not sure I can describe. Maybe like if Kathryn Williams did trad folk? She's one of a kind. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Hidden Seam is my favourite. (Neile)

Recordings:


Wild and Undaunted

Release info:

2006—Ear To The Ground—ETTGCD0001

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of new trad

Group members:

Lisa Knapp—vocals, fidddle, guitar, hammered dulcimar, banjo, autoharp, percussion, string arrangements

Guest artists:

Gerry Diver—fiddle (2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10); hammered dulcimar (2, 4); autoharp (2, 4); accordion (4, 5, 10); guitar (1); percussion (1, 2); bells and bangs (7); viola (7); recorders, whistles, timps (2); bass (2); string arrangements (2, 7, 9, 10)
Ben Clark—drum (4)
John Hennessey-Brown—cello (1)
Brendan MacCoulay—pipe drones (4)

Produced by:

Gerry Drive & Lisa Knapp

Comments:

Mostly traditional songs, but a couple of wonderful original tracks, too. Usually on albums that have both I'm underwhelmed by the originals, but that is absolutely not the case here. Here "There u r", co-written by Lisa Knapp and her husband, Gerry Driver, is utterly delightful and an enlivening contribution to the album. Knapp's own "Little Bird" and "Ride Along" both fit beautifully here. The traditional songs are gorgeous and often mournful. "Blacksmith" is one of my favourite versions of the song (I have several). Her version of "Bitter Withy" is a gut-punch. The final track, "Salisbury Plain" is one of the most haunting traditional versions of a song I've ever heard—so simple, yet so effective. Overall, an odd and wonderful album. Lisa Knapp is my favourite musical discovery of the year. (Neile)

Hunt the Hare: A Branch of May

Release info:

2012—Ear To The Ground

Availability:

The limited edition CD is out of print. Electronic version available at Lisa Knapp's bandcamp page

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Lisa Knapp—vocals, fiddles, guitar, programming

Guest artists:

Gerry Diver—fiddle (2, 3); bass (4)
Alasdair Roberts—guest vocals (2, 3); guitar (2, 3)
Pete Flood—percussion (2, 3)

Produced by:

Lisa Knapp (1, 4, 5); Gerry Diver (2, 3)

Comments:

A five-track EP with two trad songs and three of Lisa Knapp's compositions. Her "Hunt the Hare pt 1" and "Hunt the Hare pt 2" are amazing (and are also included on Hidden Seam)—the first fragile, and the second energetic and evocative. A lovely small collection. (Neile)

Hidden Seam

Release info:

2013—Navigator Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Lisa Knapp—vocals, harp, glass harp, autoharp, hammered ducimer, viola, drums, percussion, additional programming

Guest artists:

Gerry Diver—strings (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8); piano (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9); tenor and bass guitars (2, 5, 7); pedal steel (9); autoharp (2, 30: foot tap (1); glockenspiel (2); recorders (5); keyboard & programming (2, 3, 4, 6, 7); additional percussion (8); string section arrangements
James Yorkston—guest vocals (4)
Marry Waterson—guest vocals (4)
Alasdair Robers—guest vocals and guitar (7, 8)
Kathryn Williams—guest vocals and harmony arrangements (9)
Bonnie Diver—guest vocals (9)
Martin Carthy—guitar (6)
Pete Flood—drums and percussion (2, 5, 7, 8)
Oliver Cherer—programmming (1)
Johhny Hennessey-Brown—cello (5, 6)
Zi Lan—guzheng (3)
Kenny Dickenson—trumpet (5)

Produced by:

Gerry Driver

Comments:

It's strange and brilliant. I really liked her first, Wild and Undaunted, but this is so much more. The title track, "Hidden Seam," especially is utterly amazing—I play it obsessively. She can make a listing of shipping lanes sound so evocative. This is full of tracks I love from end to end. Overall this album is one of my top of the year and one I know I will be listening for years to come. Highly, highly recommended. (Neile)

Till April is Dead: A Garland of May

Release info:

2017—Ear To The Ground

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of trad and neotrad and edgy folk

Group members:

Lisa Knapp—vocals, viola, pump organ, keyboard, violin, hammered dulcimer, programming, foot taps, percussion

Guest artists:

Gerry Diver—violin (3,, 4, 12); harmonium (3); additional pecussion (2); organ (3, 7); banjo (8, 12); hammered dulcimer (4); electric guitar (4); percussion (4, 7); piano (3, 4, 5); bass guitar (4, 11, 12); acoustic guitar (4); recorder (4); accordion (12); programming (3, 4, 7, 11); keyboards (4)
Graham Coxom—vocals and guitar (3)
David Tibet—vocals (4)
Mary Hampton—vocals (8); additional vocals (2)
Steve Roud—spoken word (1)
Donnie Diver—spoken word (7)
Pete Flood—drums and percussion (2, 4, 7, 12)
Dave East—concertina (8); additional vocals (2)
Scott Miligan—additional vocals (2)
Doreen Leighter—additional vocals (2)

Produced by:

Gerry Diver

Comments:

Utter magic. Lisa Knapp has a way of making her compositions sound like an evocation of myth and mystery—and joy. She can be so playful, as in "Till April is Dead," "Lark in the Morning," and "Pleasant Month of May," and most especially in "Padstow May Song" with its cuckoo clock. She can also be mournful as in "Lily White Hand" and mix it up within songs. But the playfulness is what really stands out for me on this album. So delightful! (Neile)

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Entry last updated 2017-07-01 20:44:48.
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