Dan Haywood‘s reputation as a UK songwriter/storyteller/performer of the highest distinction is gathering steam, on the back of a string of choice shows with fellow singular nomads of song including Josephine Foster, Michael Hurley and The Tallest Man On Earth. New album Dapple, out in November, finds him in the great outdoors (The Forest Of Bowland, to be precise), delivering a sweet and lyrical song cycle that repaints the English folk pastoral in bright and beautiful tones.
“Given that Dapple could be set in the 18th century, I was keen for there to be no motor vehicle noise, just in case the listener might prefer to imagine it that way. So the locations had to be out of the way, and some of the sessions started as early as 4am to beat the sound of the Abbeystead gamekeepers’ Land Rovers and Bowland farmers’ tractors. Days on which the breeze might gust above 5mph were avoided, which was good for reducing wind noise and for a preponderance of midges.
In the spring sessions the air was alive with birdsong, and you’d wade into that set and make a small territory and start singing yourself, just a thread in a tapestry. There’s a list of avian background singers and scene-stealers on the sleeve. Later sessions could be deathly quiet and the molestation of the air was all our doing, like on the post-dusk title track, when the frightened words seemed to flash up in a pitch-black anechoic chamber. Rather than Milton’s darkness visible, it’s darkness audible” – Dan Haywood on Dapple
Dan Haywood’s New Hawks
Dan Haywood’s New Hawks are a collection of songs, and also a band, whose epic scope marries transatlantic cosmic roots music with a deeply poetic English folk soul.
A rambling, rolling band previously seen on tour with A Hawk and A Hacksaw and playing with Frank Fairfield, whose crazed stage presence, with band members swapping instruments and psychic powers amongst themselves and with the audience, has ensured them cult status.
New Hawks the band is a collective of kindred spirits from across Northern England carefully assembled over time by Haywood, who bring flesh to the album’s smart and ever-shifting arrangements with guitars, fiddles, cello, drums, hand percussion and more. Haywood himself is a compelling frontal figure, orating his adventures with a certain awkward relish and a weird glint in his eye, both the court jester and the king. Other live nestings have occurred with the likes of The Unthanks, Alasdair Roberts and Trembling Bells.
Conceived in painstaking fashion over five years by Lancaster-based singer/songwriter/ornithologist Haywood as a way of documenting his bird-and-people-watching travels around rural Scotland, the New Hawks as songs are captured on a sprawling, hugely ambitious 32-track album that is this project’s first and only release. A vast modern-day Joycean folk/rock cartography with Haywood as your charismatic navigator poet, and as many ruggedly beautiful crannies to explore (both musical and lyrical) as the highland wilderness it is inspired by.
“This strong, 32-song album is positively livid with ideas and resists easy categorisation” – The Wire
“A wild-eyed mix of cosmic country and chamber-folk…makes for a thrilling noise” – Uncut
“Charmingly, it succeeds in being both engaging and oddly uplifting while also being as dour in texture as a North Sea shoreline” – Independent On Sunday
“A grand, definitive statement… sacrificing none of his unique poetic elegance for the sake of either conformity or convention” – The Line Of Best Fit
“Defiantly individual… Surely a future cult classic, its raw takes on folk and country are a timeless delight” – 24/7
“A lifework in its extensive meditations” – Shindig
“Epic… fervent and profound” – The Fly
No shows booked at the moment.