Recorded in a disused 19th-century palace on the outskirts of Budapest, Benjamin Wetherill's first album captures the intimacy of a delicate folk idiom along with the innovation of original technique and approach. Wetherill, a Leeds native who has been making his own music for almost a decade, plays intricate fingerpicked guitar passages, and sings with a lilting style unlike anybody recording today. A startling listen for anyone looking for truly talented musicians wholly focused on their own vision.
Jeremy Barnes, A Hawk and a Hacksaw's inventive songwriter, heard Wetherill while touring and offered to produce his debut album. Barnes enlisted his Hun Hangar Ensemble of Hungarian musicians to assist in the recording, delicately expanding Wetherill's songs to include a feather orchestra of light touches and subtle accents, blending sentiments of pre-war European jazz with early English pathos.
The result is Laura, an album as emotional as it is detailed and fragile. Folk music has enjoyed a resurgence of late, but with Wetherill one always seems to get something refreshingly different--true, original music in a manner never quite done before, with the capacity to combine a mystifying sense of the early 19th century with a 20th century outlook. The effect is startling.