Richly-wrought Americana with a Celtic-British vibe.
By Blurt Staff
British upstarts The Vagaband recently released their second full-length Medicine for the Soul on their own Eggsong label. The self-produced album is the follow-up to their much praised debut Town & Country. And we are very honored to be able to unveil the new track “The Whistling Song” exclusively for the Blurt readership. Check it out:
They are an eight-piece ensemble based in Norfolk, UK who creates distinctive song-centered roots music. Performed on a rich and exotic array of instruments including flugelhorn, mandolin, marxophone, clarinet and pedal steel, the songs of singer/guitarist José McGill and pianist Greg Cook take the listener on a trip rom vaudeville and Victoriana through the horn-driven soundtrack of New Orleans and on to the open landscape of reflective Americana. There is however an underlying Celtic-Britishness flowing throughout the new record.
McGill commented on “The Whistling Song,” calling it “a weird balance between sounding haunting and celebratory. For me the song is about looking back on my twenties and all the freedom that came with it but its ambiguous enough to be open ended. Like all the tracks on the album it’s a song about dealing with transitions (letting go of old stuff – embracing new stuff).
“We recorded the track, along with the rest of the album, in a tiny side room not much bigger than a broom cupboard that adjoins our bedroom at home (which really pissed the wife off). All on budget mics and dodgy software.”
(He adds that for the video for the song, “We set up downstairs in the dining room with a couple of made-to-measure coffins.” Now THAT we plan to check out!)
Since 2010, The Vagaband have amassed a devoted following across the UK festival scene and beyond. Appearances include Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party, Bestival, Camp Bestival, Croissant Neuf & Maverick Festival (headline spot two years running). The Vagaband’s strength as a live force is the result of a well-oiled touring act who cut their teeth during early years as a street band. While able to record quality-produced albums, onstage the band’s personality comes to the fore.
After a summer touring Europe and the UK festival circuit, the band played a number of shows throughout late 2014, and will continue touring in 2015 in support of the new album.
Photo credit: Richard Shashamane