Thankful Villages Volume 2
Out this Friday!
26 May via Rivertones
Watch video for “Tellisford, Somerset” below
Album launch shows this week at The Horse Hospital in London
Darren will also be playing a series of gigs in Thankful Villages over the summer
Thursday 25 May – The Horse Hospital, London (extra date added!)
Friday 26 May – The Horse Hospital, London (sold out!)
Thursday 1 June – Thankful Village of Herbrandston
Sunday 4 June – Thankful Village of Saxby
Saturday 17 June – Thankful Village of Aisholt
Saturday 1 July – Thankful Village of Minting
“Enchanting and oh so English in execution and eccentricity.” fRoots
“If folk music is meant to pass on stories that have shaped and haunted communities, then Darren Hayman’s Thankful Villages records are their delicate cousins… painting an intriguing picture of modern-day rural life.” The Guardian
“It’s stirring, important stuff.” Record Collector
English songwriter and former Hefner frontman Darren Hayman continues his journey around the United Kingdom’s 54 Thankful Villages. A Thankful Village is a village where every soldier returned alive from World War One. Thankful Villages Vol. 2 is due out on this Friday 26 May via Rivertones. He has shared the gloriously summery video for the fifth village in the sequence, Tellisford in Somerset.
To mark the album release this week, Darren will be playing two album launch shows this week, on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 May (sold out) at London’s Horse Hospital. He will also be playing a series of gigs in Thankful Villages across the country over the summer.
You can familiarise yourself with Darren’s Thankful Villages project here.
Darren explains more about his experiences in Tellisford, Somerset:
A beautiful spring day and for the first time on my Thankful odyssey, lots of people. Children played on top of World War 2 Pillbox, part of the defence line along the River Frome. Like everyone else we were there to wild swim beside the weir.
The basic track of me playing my baritone ukulele (Pyewacket) and the percussion were recorded on the river bank but a host of friends over dubbed the track back in London. Dan Mayfield (violin), Dave Watkins (banjo), Dave Sheppard (acoustic guitar) and Emma Winston (Harmonium).
Video shot by myself and Imogen Griffiths.
A Thankful Village is a settlement where every soldier returned alive from World War 1. The term was coined by Arthur Mee in his ‘King’s England’ series of guides. Current data suggests there are 54 in England and Wales.
In this project I intend to visit every Thankful Village and create some visual and audio artwork in situ.
It is not necessarily important that the work is finished in the village but it is important that the inspiration comes directly from recording and writing within the location.
An ongoing and hugely ambitious folk project, Thankful Villages is only partially concerned with the war itself, moreover it is a celebration of British rural life. Darren pulls together first person interviews, folk tales and songs, field recordings and his own personal experiences to create a vast patchwork depicting community, history and legend.
Thankful Villages Volume 2 is less an album but something akin to an arcane musical radio documentary. The success of the first volume of Thankful Villages has encouraged Hayman to go deeper into his subject. Themes of “the river” and “death” weave their way through these eighteen villages. A centuries old drowning is uncovered in “Arkholme” on bonfire night. Dennis, the river man, tells us of a tragedy on the Weir in “Cromwell”. Judy Dyble, the original singer of folk legends Fairport Convention, joins Darren in the village of “Upper Slaughter” and sings a lyric about the generations flowing like water through the village.
Darren uncovers two World War II air disasters in “Woodend” and “Wigsley”, where he records in the abandoned control tower at the airfield, the so-called cemetery of lights. Perhaps the most shocking and miraculous of tales is found in “Flixborough” where in 1974 the local plastics factory exploded killing everyone inside but nobody in the lucky village. Derek and his son tell us the story of finding each other amongst shards of glass.
However, glimpses of light shine through the darkness; a sunny day of wild swimming in “Tellisford”, a village fete with bell ringing in “East Norton” and a tale of a grateful Belgian Refugee in “Norton Le Clay”.
Thankful Villages Volume 1 garnered a great deal of media attention, with features in broadsheets including The Guardian, Financial Times, The Independent and The i Paper. Darren also appeared on The Verb with Ian Mcmillan, Loose Ends and interviewed for a feature on Radio 4’s PM programme.
Darren played special concerts around the release, doing a rendition of his Thankful Villages set with accompanying visuals and films, headlining with a full band as well as solo supporting British Sea Power. A collage of Britain’s hidden places, rich in history and community, Thankful Villages is a further chapter in Darren’s journey and a testament to his remarkable work ethic.
In 2016 Darren was awarded the title of ‘Hardest Working Artist’ at the AIM Awards for the Thankful Villages project and his prolific career.
Thankful Villages Volume 3, which will appear in 2018, has been given funding by the Arts Council.
Praise for Thankful Villages Volume 1
“An intoxicating collection of folk songs, dreamy instrumentals and poignant interviews set to music, layered with sounds harvested from his visits.” The Financial Times
“Listening to Thankful Villages is to hear a range of stories stretching across history.” The Independent i
“The project resembles a fascinating, occult history of the British countryside, filled with largely forgotten rural stories.” The Guardian
“He has managed a real lightness of touch here that lifts the project form the depths that it might have charted.” Record Collector 4*s
Pre-order link: https://caughtbytheriver.greedbag.com/buy/thankful-villages-volume-1/
Rivertones is the audio arm of Caught by the River (caughtbytheriver.net).
An arts/nature/culture clash, which publishes daily at caughtbytheriver.net