Stray Hens are launching a full length album in 2016 called ...
We need your help to get the album mastered, printed and get some promotion going for the launch. The band has had a really great run over the last 4 years, with gigs in most States and Territories, lots of great festival shows and an incredibly enthusiastic audience. After a very quiet 2016, with a few changes to the line-up - a few sad imminent departures planned, and a couple of new additions in the wings, the band has put together an album and gotten all prepared for a release. The band is excited to work with producer Luke Plumb (The Mae Trio, Shooglenifty, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton) and booked Echidna Studios in the Christmas Hills. We are really keen to make sure the album gets launched and toured in finest form to celebrate the work of our departing crew. So this is your chance to get your pre-orders in, via the crowdfunding campaign, and support the band.
Sally Taylor (Appalachian Heaven) and Richard Grace will be leaving us in 2017!!! The last few years working with them have been epic and led to some utterly brilliant shows. This year, while recording the record, and in their true form, they have poured dynamic energy into leading songs- Richard singing his adaptation of "The Handweaver and the Factory Maid" - a gorgeous treatment with interesting timing, of an old English story, which seems much older than it is. and Sally leading a harrowing arrangement of the traditional song "The Cruel Mother" written for her by Mandy Connell.
Carmen O'Brien, (Rapskallion, the Revenants) who joined the band in 2015 after Rowena Wise headed out to start her solo career, leads a beautifully simple version of Hugh McDonald's Diamantina Drover- a song close to all our hearts and one that Carmen has been fond of since childhood. Diamantina Drover has really set the theme of hard slog, rain and renewal for this album. Carmen's blisteringly good fiddle chops add masses of guts to Hens arrangements, and her vocals show a fragility and knowledge of the story that intertwine the ear and the heart.
This album, The Confluence, kicks off with a song written by Karine Polwart (Scotland) originally recorded by Malinky on their 'Last Leaves' album. As the first track on the record, The Dreadful End of Mariana for Sorcery has a feeling of suspense and motion that you first feel deep in your guts. Coming in with the distictive guitar and vocals of our erstwhile frontwoman, Mariana is umistakeably an interpretation by Mandy Connell. Mandy's passion and drive has always shone clearly, both on stage and in their eponymous EP/Album from 2013. While this album more fully represents the qualities of each player, fans of songwriter and traditional singer Mandy Connell will not be disappointed.
Mariana, like much of the album, features the woven harmonies for which the band has become so well-loved. It's almost a feminist anthem, written in a style reminiscent of old tradition. The story of a girl who meets a boy and then gets propositioned by the local tax collector. She ends up rejecting the tax collector in favor of her boyfriend- only to be lynched and murdered by the townsfolk when the tax collector spreads rumours that she's a witch. It utilises a strong tune and all three vocals come out of the woodwork, alternately shining independently and weaving effortlessly with the others.
Sally Taylor, known far and wide for her ripping solos and extreme versatility on fiddle, has taken the vocal lead on 'Ballad of Accounting' and brought a world of fury and passion to the record. A top note of anger and world-weariness, to offset the beautiful sense of perspective and acceptance woven through the rest of the record. This song is a brilliant vibrent way for us to celebrate Sally's contributions to the Stray Hens and we are so proud to have a song on this album which shows off her voice as she heads off to concentrate on her other projects.
The record is finished off with a stunning arrangement of Jack Sorenson's poem, 'Song of the Inland Rain' . We first heard the poem as arranged by Roger Montgomery for The Dingoes Breakfast, who generously gave their permission for us to tweak their arrangement to fit the Stray Hens big-stage format. Arranged by Ryan Tews, the song is paired with a tune he wrote to compliment the 'feel' of the song. 'The Confluence' became the title track for the record. Tews' composition brings out the passion and intensity that we usually see in his visual art. The Stray Hens repertoire includes diverse arrangements, often driven by Ryan's broad perspective. The hints of the depth and intuition which influence our arrangements are properly brought to bear in this work and truly polish the record (see his work here on his Photography Facebook Page Ryan Tews Photography).
The Confluence is something we are very proud to bring you, something which offers both old and new, in what we think is our very own voice. With vulnerability and strength offered up by all and by each of us, we (The Stray Hens), are very proud of what we've created. We feel that new listeners and our loyal fans alike will find a lot to love.
We hope that you enjoy listening to this album, as much as we have enjoyed performing for you.
Thankyou for your contributions and your support!
1) The Dreadful End of Marianna for Sorcery
2) Pot and Tinker
3) The Cruel Mother
(Trad Arr Mandy Connell & Stray Hens)
4) The Recruited Collier
(Trad Arr Stray Hens)
5) The Handweaver and the Factory Maid / The Musical Priest
(Both Trad Arr Stray Hens)
6) Tom Paine's Bones
7) Ballad of Accounting / The Ledger
(Ewan McColl / Sally Taylor)
8) Innisfail Song (Hey Rain)
(Bill Scott Arr Stray Hens)
9) The Diamantina Drover
10) Riddles Wisely Expounded (Bonny Broom)
(Trad Arr Stray Hens)
11) Mad Tom of Bedlam
(Trad Arr Stray Hens)
12) Song of the Inland Rain / The Confluence
(Words by Jack Sorenson, music by Roger Montgomery / tune by Ryan Tews)
How The Funds Will Be Used
$4500 for Recording and Mastering
$1500 for publicity and promotion
$2500 for Printing at Dex Audio
All fundraising is a challenge. We haven't released a studio recording since 2014 and some rocky band relationships have created a bit of stress over the past year. That now dealt with, we are very pleased with the work of the band and our engineer- Luke Plumb.
....And we know there are a lot of people anxious to hear the new recordings, so we entreat you to please share the bejeebus out of this campaign for us - help us get the word out and the enthusiasm up!
The funds will cover the costs of the studio time, and the printing of the actual hard-copy. Your contribution will make it happen- and your sharing of links, videos and promotion!
We worked very hard on the record, and we think it represents a big leap forward in our development. It has some gorgeous moments on it, and we selected a track listing which has something for everyone.