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'For The People'   

-  Label: 'Bite Music'
-  Genre: 'Folk' -  Release Date: '15th April 2022'-  Catalogue No: 'BR12116'

Our Rating:
Despite being a legal alien in the States since 2006, Rupert Wates’ British roots continue to inform his narrative song writing.

His 11th solo album reaffirms the essential principle of folk music being both for and by the people.

All the songs are originals but since they are drawn from old English folk tales of ordinary people, they immediately sound like standards.

He describes the album as “a love song to humanity” and many songs have nautical themes. Oh Captain is told from the perspective of a mermaid pleading with a ship’s captain to weigh anchor while Thirty Thousand Guineas is a tale of sailors on a smuggling ship.

Wates’ style is simple and direct, mostly just him and acoustic guitar. This gives prominence to the smooth confidence of his vocals and to the slickness of his fingerpicking skills. Often there are shades of Richard Thompson’s solo work.

Exceptions to the sparse arrangements are when Rorie Kelly sings second lead vocals on the medley All Fair Ladies/Spanish Galleon and Adrianna Mateo plays violin Ullswater Cove.

And just to show he’s not alone, friends and family chip in to add backing voices to the closing track, The Dance of Joy which focuses on celebrating the present moment: “We shall sing the joyful song because we’re here”.

Wates is in his element on this record and makes it all seem effortless. Although he looks to the past for inspiration he is no slave to tradition. He says “I hope it sounds both ancient and contemporary” and it does.

Rupert Wates’ website
  author: Martin Raybould

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WATES, RUPERT - For The People