By Sam Lee
To go from visual artist to survival expert to musician is very impressive but what place does Sam Lee's traditional folk album have in today's music scene? Lee gives a strong interpretation of eight traditional folk ballads. He manages to maintain the integrity of the songs while adding modern production features such as synthesized sounds, backwards tape and overdubs. Features that we are all very used to by now, however to implement them on this type of music is a relatively new thing. Nevertheless it makes for a good blend of old and new. Lee's vocals are the real strong point of the album with their distinct London twang comparable to that of the many musical experiments of Damon Albarn, where he allows his vocals to work across a wide range of styles and genres.
In the tradition of folk music it works brilliantly. Lee takes old ballads passed down through the generations and adds his own personal experiences and emotions to them allowing them be heard in a new setting although with the same stories and messages that instigated the music. A fusion of traditional folk, bluegrass and modern production techniques that further broadens today's music scene. The likes of Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons and Fleet Foxes have brought folk rock into the 21st century and Sam Lee is going further back to bring traditional, rural folk music to the mass audiences of the 21st century. 'The Ballad of George Collins' and 'Goodbye My Darling' are the highlights.