Anne Lister
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Anne Lister

Abergavenny, Wales, United Kingdom | SELF

Abergavenny, Wales, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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"Anne writes what are to me quite simply some of the most distinctive and beautiful songs I know." - David Kidman "...A highlight ... is Breakers, where the tumbling beauty of the metre so accurately reflects and represents the wave motion with all its rippling verbal and musical ebb and flow. The songs on this new CD were largely inspired by the stones and landscape of Beara, west Cork, and local myth is but one element, though you don't always need to be familiar with the stories to appreciate these sincere and evocative songs which celebrate strength in adversity and are (mostly) genuinely optimistic, positive and uplifting in Anne's own unique way. ... Anne has enlisted the help of just a few guests, notably Steafan Hannigan, to provide magical musical settings which are often suitably florid but never overwrought; incidental delights include the "wooden sax" and uillean pipes emulating the hunting horn on The Hunter's Fox, the tentative old-time feel of Devil in the Garden, and the many sympathetic fiddle contributions of Mike O'Connor. The inspired instrumental arrangements never detract from the songs' power or message, however. In short, this is a CD of real quality; I urge you to make Anne's acquaintaince soon." - David Kidman


Anne's 8th solo album forms another enchanting chapter in her personal storybook, carrying on her own well-established tradition of crafted singer-songwriterdom. Anne's stock-in-trade remains ever-fascinating tales sourced from true stories or folk myths / legends; additionally this time, four of her own songs are drawn directly from experiences recounted to Anne during story-telling workshops which she ran in prisons. Compelling accounts of supernatural occurrences and beings co-exist with the poignant story of Irving Pollard of Coventry and the telling examination of issues such as suicide, drug addiction and incarceration. Although couched in her now familiar beautifully melodious compositional idiom, the new songs comprise probably Anne's most varied set to date purely in terms of subject matter and inspiration, while at the same time the simple yet intense poetry of her writing has seldom been more captivating. Hers has always been a strongly individual artistic voice although the astute may well sense, particularly in the compassion of her philosophical stance, a kinship with the work of Leon Rosselson, Maggie Holland and even Ralph McTell. Musically, Anne's skilled at reworking the forms, patterns and resonance of traditional song: several of the new songs contain more than subliminal echoes of time-honoured melodic contours - The Horseman Of Ceunant Y Cyffdy recalls The Prickly Bush and White Powder recalls When I Was On Horseback while the charming opener Little Polly Williams trips lightly to a courtly variant of Speed The Plough. Finally, How To Stand Still and Stone Circles are revisits of songs that originally graced the lovely 1987 Anonyma LP Burnt Feathers, surely a candidate for reissue), and it says much for the consistency of Anne's writing that they stand up so well today. On each track (save for the a cappella White Powder), she employs up to three accompanying musicians, hand-picked from the pool of Mike O'Connor (fiddle, concertina), Matt Crum (keyboards, saxes, melodeon), Jo Freya (clarinet, harmonies), Jacey Bedford (harmonies) and multi-skilled long-term collaborator Steafan Hannigan; the album's sympathetically produced by Brian Bedford. Once again, Anne's weaved a brilliant tapestry of insightful and atmospheric songs. - David Kidman, FRoots


Discography

“Burnt Feathers” – Fellside Records 1987, with Mary McLaughlin as Anonyma.
“No Signposts” – Hearthfire 001 1990
“Spreading Rings” – Hearthfire 002 1993
“A Flame in Avalon” – Hearthfire 003
“Root, Seed, Thorn and Flower” – Hearthfire 004
“Singing on the Wind” – Hearthfire 005 1999
Live Album – Hearthfire 006 2003
“Waiting for the Hero” – Hearthfire 007 2004
“A Twist in the Story” – Hearthfire 008 2010

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Bio

Anne Lister writes songs, sings them and tells stories. All at the same time. Her songs are rooted in folk tales, myths and legends, mainly of these islands, and her unique blend of deceptively simple yet finely crafted songs have been covered widely by other better-known performers.
She’s an engaging, entertaining and charismatic performer herself. Anne started singing professionally in her teens in her home town of Cardiff, and over the years she has toured extensively in the UK and the US, and taken her stories and workshops to Greece, Spain, France and Italy.