Album Review of Upcetera by Jim Moray.
Release Date: Sep 30, 2016
Record label: NIAG
Moray’s modernist treatment of antique folk has sometimes proved wayward, but rarely uninteresting. This sixth album is well judged, treating eight old songs to varied arrangements and adding a brace of originals. No one else would put Fair Margaret and Sweet William, a 400-year- old murder ballad, to a racing, Nymanesque piano part, or make The Foggy Dew (not the Irish song) fit for a Latin ballroom.
Jim Moray switches direction yet again. Last year he joined Sam Carter for an inspired folk-rock thrash with False Lights. Now, with his first solo album in four years, he concentrates on narrative folk ballads that are transformed by bold string and brass arrangements, with Moray adding everything from guitars to vibraphone. It works remarkable well, for the most part, with his distinctive, no-nonsense vocals matched against urgent backing that at times echoes the repetition of systems music.