'Old World/New World' may well prove to be the best folk release of 2014. David Lewis certainly isn't prolific, his last album 'Ghost Rhymes' was released in 2007 and there are only two earlier releases dating back to 1995, so with four releases in almost twenty years, David is perhaps The Blue Nile of folk, though on balance this may be due to his main profession as a lecturer.
That said, whilst there might have been a seven year wait for this latest album, it certainly is worth it. The album features twelve tracks of sheer perfection; flawless acoustic folk music, with each track arranged meticulously around the acoustic guitar and the vocals. This makes for an album which is from start to finish a joy to listen to.
The vocal delivery is never less than crisp and clear, and the lyrics are frequently evocative of times gone by, of pastoral scenes and freshly mown lawns, ans as a result, they make a real impression upon the listener. The opening track 'So Sing' is a guitar folk song which is gentle, light and easy upon the ears, with lyrics that resonate with hope: - “Sing, sing what you know to be true/ sing, sing whatever means most to you/ You will find that the sound will answer to you. Outside the world is waiting for whatever you do”.
Following on from this is the slightly darker 'Devil's Best Tune', a track that from a vocal perspective is very reminiscent of Al Stewart. Once again, the lyrics resonate: - “Your voice in the distance, floating through the trees/ Meeting no resistance , such things are meant to be/ A feast for my senses, jasmine is in bloom/ Your melody is better than the Devil's best tune”. This is a superb track, I for one particularly liked the line”lazy summer afternoon, drifting through the grass”, which brought back so many memories from long, long ago.
The track 'Fall To Earth' is a straight down the line classic, a number featuring guitar, keys and harmonica, and evoking the British folk boom of the 1960s. Once again, the lyrics are clever and well-crafted: - “Not one thing in this changing world makes sense the way things are/ You're looking down from so high above making judgements from afar/ All that's below looks like so many dots, you're trying to join all the stars/ Fall to earth now slowly, let yourself down/ Fall to earth, on to solid ground.
All of these reasons no longer to fly, look down now, look around”.
Albums this strong come around rarely, so, if this genre is your bag, then make sure you get a copy as soon as you can. You certainly won't be disappointed.