Eliza Carthy (ENG) is a many-faceted, highly acknowledged (she’s an MBE) and awarded folk singer and musician who has distinguished herself by her adventurous takes on British trad material. She has performed and recorded as a solo artis and in collaboration with other artists (including her folk musician parents Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson) and a number of bands. Her discography testifies to her work ethic as it covers, since 1993, ten solo albums, a dozen family collaborations and almost countless other collaborations.
The early recording years of her career are dominated by fairly traditional approaches to English folk music and songs, but already in the mid-1990’s she began to forcefully add new touches and spices in the mix. The 1996 Eliza Carthy & the Kings of Calicutt brought in a drs’n’bass section; in 2000 Angels & Cigarettes featured a full digital arsenal of samples, loops and sequencers and the 2008 Dreams of Breathing Underwater has at times the surreal atmosphere of Tom Waits circa Rain Dogs. Her two latest outings are, suitably enough, polar opposites, as the 2017 The Big Machine is powered by the very big sound of the folk all-star Wayward Band while the 2019 Restitute is an almost minimalist, bare-bones effort, with her powerful, deep vibrato alto voice dominating over all.
All the while, between different periods and styles, she has continued with the more traditional approach, moving rapidly between old styles and modern innovations. Her career seems to be endlessly energized by this almost Bowie-like exploration of different artistic modes, and hers will surely remain a most interesting journey for us to follow. A unique artist in her field.
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