Album Review - Brave - The Salts
Updated: May 28, 2020
Brave is the second album (Yes, I’m reviewing albums out of order again) from The Salts. They are a five-piece English based Folk/Sea Shanty band, consisting of the following musicians:
Brian Doran - Vocals - Mandolin - Whistle
Lee Collinson - Vocals - Banjo - Acoustic Guitar
Jeremy Hart - Vocals - Acoustic Guitar
Richard Nash - Vocals - Drums
Tim Cantrell - Double Bass - Vocals
The Salts, mix their own original style with historic and modern songs on the ‘Brave’ album. The opening track, sets the scene really well for what is to come. A mix of a classic song, expertly crafted into one that feels and sounds like it has just been written.
This mixing and modernising of songs, is best served by ‘Fire Marengo’. The song its self is a mix of famous Shanties from centuries long since passed, whose origins have been lost in time. All we know is it seems to have come from the New Orleans or Mobile, area in the United States (1), making its way over to the UK in the 1800’s.
While this is fascinating for us Folkies, it’s not really important to the sense of the album, as once again ‘The Salts’ make it their own. It feels like a fresh tale, with engaging toe tapping music and vocals that have a haunting sea strained otherworldly feel.
‘Running Down to Cuba’ continues this scene, while we are slowed down with the stirring and emotional ‘Brave’, then softly lured into ‘Drunken Sailor’. Here The Salts, switch it back up with a mix of Bluegrass and English Folk, creating a truly fresh and original sounding song that is known by all, yet feels like it's their own.
‘Dead Horse’ gets you dancing, before the splendid Bluegrass ‘Haul Away for Rosie’ gets you up on the tables; then the next couple of tracks have you singing along at the top of your voice, by this time the inn is getting a wee bit rowdy.
We end with, ’10,000 Miles’, (Also known by ‘Ten Thousand Miles Away’ attributed to Joseph B. Geoghegan (2)), which combines all that has gone before, ultimately ending the album with a hoedown, leaving you upbeat and ready for the hangover in the morning.
The Salts, 'Brave’ is an interesting album, on one hand it’s a fantastic, refreshing look at some of the more famous Sea Shanties from Humanities past, that will have you dancing and singing along.
Superb music with strong vocals and beautifully performed harmonies, create something that even the ‘Sea Shanties are for old folks’ crowd would love. This album wouldn’t be out of place, whether it was played in a smoke-filled barn dance in Cumbria, England, or a trendy folk bar in New York City, USA.
On the other hand, it’s also an interesting study on how timeless Sea Shanties really are. Traditionally written and sung by the sea going folks. Used to spread light-hearted tales of the dangers they face, day in and day out. They have been rewritten throughout history to better suit the changing dangers that these people faced out on the Oceans across the world.
Now, in the 21st Century, ‘The Salts’, have continued that tradition, refreshing them to better fit the audiences of these modern times, while remaining faithful to the history and meanings of the songs. Again, making them relevant to the young and old, that slave away, out at sea or in the struggling dockyards, while the Lords and Kinds (or in this case the C.E.O’s of major corporations and Shareholders), get rich off their backs.
The album is out on all your favourite Streaming Services and Storefront, HOWEVER, you can support the artists directly by picking up the CD from the store on their website here.
1: The Longest Song - https://thelongestsong.fandom.com/wiki/Fire_Marengo
2: Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Thousand_Miles_Away
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