CD Review – Angie Palmer “Old Sticks to Scare Birds”
Just as English Folk catches up with her Angie takes another leap forward
Although she still looks like a fresh faced teenager Angie Palmer has been in and around the British Folk scene for quite a few years now, starting out as a busker and eventually playing every Folk Club between Lands End and John O’Groats, before basing herself in France when fame and fortune avoided her in her home country.
Now; with her fifth album; Folk music has finally caught up with Angie Palmer as Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran, Noah and the Whale combine the best in Americana with traditional British Folk music to create what is thought of a ‘modern commercial sound,’ but is exactly what Angie Palmer has been doing for the last 10 years.
OLD STICKS TO SCARE A BIRD starts with the potently political Ballad of Jack Everyman when Angie barely contains her anger as she tells us your taxes line his pockets/and your labour fills his store/and he still keeps you poor. It’s as good as anything Billy Bragg wrote in his heyday; only with a melody.
Raising Hurricanes is a break up song that combines English Folk and Blues but sounds like it was written in Louisiana (now do you see why she’s difficult to categorise?).
Angie Palmer can even do cute – Postcard from Paris which is a love song to that great city and it works on every level; especially the blend of guitars, violins, violas and mandolin that give it an ethereal feel.
Trad. Folk rears its head on the beautiful Song of Drowning Sailors; which could have been written any time in the last 100 years; but was written by Angie and Paul Mason for this album, and goes to show what great songwriters they actually are.
As usual, I have a favourite track and here it’s Dirty Little Secret which is fun rocking Americana soaked song, where the title tells you all you need to know.
Haunted by a Stranger is one epic story split into two songs as the narrator gives us both sides of a fleeting moment in time and the result is astonishing.
Speaking of epic; the finale is the eight minute long Fresco when Angie and her band slide their collective hand inside your chest and gently squeeze your heartstrings with an arrangement made in Heaven by Angels.