"Meet You There" - Oysterband

Meet You There


Once the bad boys of folk and rock, Oysterband have grown over the past five years into the role of musical custodians and godfathers of folk. Collaborative tours with rising young stars under the banner of The Big Session; a Big Session "live" album with June Tabor, Eliza Carthy, The Handsome Family, Show Of Hands and more; and finally a Big Session festival, now in its third year, which hasn't yet failed to sell out. And there have been gongs, awards, nominations...

The 'house band' role Oysterband played for part of these years drew on the group's formidable musical skills, rather as The Last Waltz did once upon a time for The Band. And it made them re-evaluate themselves. "We had to go back to the essential impulse that's kept the band kicking for almost 30 years - making new songs for ourselves," says Ian Telfer. "We put a PA system in a village hall on the Welsh border and got down to some serious playing. It's the doing it together that unlocks it for us," he insists. "It's the only way the songs can grow and breathe, of course. But also, we've always believed that creativity is a collective thing, and that's helped shape the band's politics. Not that we agree about everything, by a long chalk...but hey, that's the spark."

"Meet You There" certainly delivers a fresh perspective on 'folk'. Check out the lovely mbira introduction by Chopper to the opening song "Over The Water", and the stinging rockabilly guitar beat of "Someone Somewhere" for contrast. For the singing, check out "Over The Water" again, "Where The World Divides", "The Boy's Still Running", the dreamy anthemic "Dancing As Fast As I Can". For the politics, the acid, knowing take on globalisation (over a cheery jugband backing) on "Here Comes The Flood".