Following 2005’s 6 track E.P ‘Extended Procrastination’, in 2007 the band released their spectacular debut ‘The Fair Essex’, an album which cleverly wove together a narrative of English summers, picturesque coastal towns and villages its been praised for its “gypsy jazz stylings, rural sound effects and samples – its beauty is in the detail”, one of MOJO’s folk albums of the year ‘The Fair Essex’ was a landmark in the bands history. Subsequent tours and festivals followed the success of their debut and the next two years proved to be a turning point for the band. Much of it was spent honing their skills and building on their energetic live shows in the UK and Europe. Mawkin also worked hard to gain the attention of new fans supporting a diverse selection of artists on tours; Eliza Carthy, Billy Bragg, Show of Hands and Mr Scruff. A chance meet with Jim Causley (Devils Interval, Under one Sky) at Dartmoor Festival led to the extremely popular collaboration Mawkin:Causley.
The 5-piece folk boy band set to work on recording an E.P while appearing at various festivals in 2008. Not many bands can lay claim to being nominated for a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award before they have released an album, but Mawkin:Causley can. Following the success of their 6 track sampler ‘Cold Ruin’ the collaboration were nominated for ‘Best Group’ alongside fellow ground-breaking contemporaries Bellowhead. Hailed as the “pin-up poster boys of folk” Mawkin:Causley attracted a lot of media attention with live sets on BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris show and BBC Radio 4’s Clive Anderson’s Loose Ends show. Mawkin:Causley toured rigorously as well as appearing at a number of high profile festivals; BBC Radio 2 Cambridge Festival, Larmer Tree Festival and Shrewsbury Festival. In 2009 they released their debut album ‘The Awkward Recruit’ – it was met with critical acclaim; Uncut called it “Remarkably assured – such conviction and a true sense of their music’s history” , while fRoots declared it “Supremely confident – a serious album, of considerable weight”.
‘The Awkward Recruit’ won two more BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations for ‘Best Group’ and ‘Best Traditional Track’. In August 2010 Mawkin:Causley disbanded as members of the collaboration wanted to head in their own directions. Jim Causley set to work on his solo record, while Alex Goldsmith hung up his melodeon and retired from music. Mawkin looked to forge a bold new sound that would strengthen their instrumental roots while embracing a new, exuberant exploration into the traditional folk canon. The band turned to good friend, melodeon player and mastering engineer Nick Cooke (The Jim Moray Band, Trinculo, Glorystrokes) and Lee Richardson; drummer and co-producer/engineer on ‘The Fair Essex’.
The result was their bravest record to date. Two years in the making ‘Crow’ is another landmark in the band’s history, ancient instrumental folk tunes from around the globe are dragged delightfully into the modern age. Folk tunes are fused sublimely with jazz, rock and prog with a swagger and conviction that is thrillingly reassuring. New collaborations are offered with the jaw-dropping vocals of Eliza Carthy on the haunting and soulful ‘Bad Girls Lament’, one of England’s finest songwriters Steve Knightley (Show of Hands) delivers a pounding acoustic pop remake of his own ‘Its All Quiet’, the youthful and cheeky vigour of Jim Causley is presented in full show on ‘The Bellringers’ and Mawkin’s own guitarist and singer David Delarre gives a raucous Essex-delta blues cover of The Kinks ‘Harry Rag’. There is a real sense that ‘Crow’ is landmark achievement in the bands history- not just the music but also in the approach to the record.
Melodeon player Nick Cooke recently said ‘we really wanted to go away for a while and make a record that we would want to listen to’ the band were also insistent on creating their own cottage industry; Drummer Lee Richardson explains ‘we really wanted to bring together all the know-how the band has built over the years and we have the facility to record and produce it ourselves – so we did exactly that’, together with Nick Cooke (who also works as Mastering Engineer for Extreme Music the Production Music arm of Sony/ATV)) the band could spend much more time developing their sound in the studio than ever before, even the artwork was produced by Becca Eastland – Lee’s partner and professional artist. ‘Crow’ signifies a real organic process that harks back to their critically acclaimed debut ‘The Fair Essex’ and looks set to be just as well received. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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