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Homecoming - Press Release
Wonderful celebration of traditional folk song and dance tunes on anticipated and triumphant solo debut album by acclaimed accordionist Alex Cumming.
After more than a decade and a half of recording with various groups and artists including The Teacups, Nicola Beazley, Ange Hardy, Bellwether, critically acclaimed folk singer and accordionist Alex Cumming is releasing his much anticipated debut solo album, Homecoming.
Since moving to America in 2015, Alex has embraced American traditional music whilst continuing to celebrate the music of his homeland in England and this album is a true celebration of Cumming’s musical journey over the last decade. Along with his emotional and exciting vocal, accordion and piano performance on the album, Homecoming features an exciting lineup of collaborators. Audrey Leigh Jaber provides some incredible Fiddle playing on the album, managing to capture the pure essence of the English traditions whilst bringing an authentic and exciting American flair to proceedings. Like Audrey, guitarist Max Newman is steeped in the traditional America contra dance scene and brings irresistible rhythms and riffs on Guitar, Mandolin and Quebecois stepping to the arrangements. Homecoming was recorded, mixed and produced by Haystack Records’ Pete Ord, who has been a long time collaborator with Alex, working on albums with The Teacups and duo with Nicola Beazley. Pete brings a magical layer to the record, with an incredible ear for the perfect sound and arrangement, as well as bringing some tantalising electric guitar and rocking drums to the mix! Other collaborators on the album include a stunning orchestral string performance from The Unthanks Kathleen Ord on the tracks Green & Pleasant Land and How Can I Keep From Singing? And there are a plethora of incredible guest vocalists including Will Finn & Rosie Calvert from The Teacups, well known English folk star Laurel Swift (Gadarene, Morris Offspring, The Gloworms) and wonderful American folk singer Cate Clifford.
Homecoming opens triumphantly with a rocking arrangement of the Anglo-American sea song, Boston Harbour, complete with big choruses and a great rendition of the Thomas Bartlett tune, Thomas Shrugs March. The Singer’s Request follows and showcases Cumming’s beautiful piano playing and thoughtful arrangement, along with some luscious harmonies from the guest vocalists. The magical feel continues into the next piece, the title track to the album, an original piece called Homecoming. This track really shows the sensitivity and beauty of Cumming’s accordion playing and the addition of both fiddle and acoustic guitar lift this emotional melody to the next level. Next sees Cumming embrace his a Capella singing with a captivating performance of the ballad Polly Vaughan and smoothly moves to a beautiful new setting of William Blake's Jerusalem which was inspired by a morris dance melody but taken to a whole new level with the instrumentation and arrangement. A wonderful set of original dance tunes follow, Harbour Steel/Francis Frenzy, and it really showcases the core musical trio of Cumming, Jaber and Newman. The musical interplay on this track is delightful and you can really hear how much the musicians enjoy making music together. This musical interplay continues with an Appalachian version of Lord Bateman, Lord Beichan, with an arrangement that really compliments the storytelling and poetry of the piece, a captivating vocal performance from Cumming really tops this exciting arrangement. We get a great taste of Cumming’s days singing with The Teacups next with a performance of Bold Nelson featuring his Teacup collaborators Will Finn & Rosie Calvert. This trio of voices lock together in a stunning show of harmony and showcases the decade of singing these three have shared together. We then get a real sense of Cumming’s love of folk rock with the Watchet Sailor, opening with some thrilling riffs and eclectic guitar. The track tells the tale of unrequited love and the arrangement really brings that yearning and anticipation to the storytelling. Watchet Sailor is also paired with another original composition, On A Winter's Morn, which is an rollicking minor reel bringing the ceilidh and contra dance feel to the forefront. An emotional performance of How Can I Keep From Singing? Closes out the album with Cumming’s heart wrenching vocal and piano performance. The arrangement is rounded out with an incredible orchestral string performance from Kathleen Ord, that compliments and enhances the emotional journey of the song.
From start to finish, Homecoming is a wonderful celebration of traditional folk song, dance music and the traditions of England and the US. Captivating performances mixed with stunning production create an iconic album and a triumphant debut from Alex Cumming.
Released globally on 28th February 2024 Pre-orders available from 1st February 2024.
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All tracks arranged by Alex Cumming with Audrey Jaber, Max Newman & Pete Ord
Alex Cumming: Lead Vocals, Accordion, Piano
Audrey Jaber: Fiddle
Max Newman: Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Octave Mandolin, Feet
Pete Ord: Electric Guitar, Bass, Drums, Percussion, additional vocals
Kathleen Ord: Orchestral Strings
And special guest backing vocalists: Rosie Calvert, Cate Clifford, Will Finn, Catherine Haines, Laurel Swift, Mira Claire Whiting.
Recorded at Northfire Recording Studio, Amherst MA, The Studio at Sunbeams, Cumbria UK, ODC Home Studio, Brattleboro VT
Recording & Mixing by Pete Ord
Mastered by Stephen Kerrison for Weird Jungle
Produced by Pete Ord
You can download the full album notes here: