House and Land - Across The Field LP
Thrill Jockey Records
House and Land (Guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Sarah Louise and fiddler/banjoist Sally Anne Morgan) is a North Carolina based duo whose guitar, fiddle and banjo abilities transform traditional folk forms from the familiar to the strikingly fresh. Their gorgeous sophomore album Across The Field is a work of bold artistry, drawing connections between the traditional and psychedelic through dexterous improvisation and deep appreciation of the living culture of their songs. Their feminist interpretations of lyrics reflective of another time and attitude is both empowering and illustrative. Identifying with many songs’ message of close relationship with the land and principles of stewardship, the duo’s emotional connection is palpable in their hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies.
A keen understanding of the traditional source material House and Land pulls from allows the duo the freedom to experiment. Instead of seeing old, even ancient material as limiting, they use the living songs as compositional canvases to paint rich new tapestries and tell modern versions of timeless stories.
The history of each song on Across The Field spans far beyond Louise and Morgan’s own lifetimes, yet they still strike to the quick of what it means to be a human in the world. During the duo’s travels since the release of debut House and Land in 2016 they have met and played with the likes of British folk heroes Shirley Collins, Carole Pegg, and French hurdy gurdy master Emmanuelle Parrenin. These brief encounters served to reinvigorate the duo and reinforced the importance of using songs to connect people to the land and to the continuity of human culture. On Across The Field, House and Land have taken up the mantel of their elders with reverence and care, weaving fresh, resplendent, contemporary tales from disparate threads of the past.