From the Fields Reviews
We’re starting to get some reviews of the new album through now and it seems the reviewers are as pleased with it as we are! We’ll keep updating this post whenever anything else comes in, but here’s what we have so far:
From Q Magazine
Although just 21, The Carrivick Sisters are already on album four, From the Fields (self-released ****) is a huge step up for the Devon twins, their already formidable multi-instrumental skills and songwriting maturing at such a steep curve they’ll soon be orbiting far beyond anyone else.
Q rating system explained:
5* – CLASSIC. Buy this now! Essential for any collection
4* – EXCELLENT. Rest assured, satisfaction is guaranteed.
3* GOOD. Good within its field, but perhaps not for everyone.
2* FAIR. For die-hard fans only, and even they might be disappointed.
1* POOR. Move along, there’s nothing of interest here.
From The Telegraph
Carrivick Sisters are pick of the crop
Carrivick Sisters and Boden & Spiers offer up some of the delights of British folk music.
The Carrivick Sisters – identical twins from South Devon – play a variety of bluegrass instruments (essentially guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro and fiddle). Although they are still only 21, From The Fields is their fifth CD – and very enjoyable it is too.
West Country place names might not have the glitz of America (Route 66 works in a way that Road A303 just doesn’t) but there are plenty of local sins and sinners to inspire the music of the Carrivicks. Charlotte Dymond, for example, is a jaunty and effective banjo-led murder ballad set in Bodmin.
Flowers With Jamie shows off the sparkling harmonies that prompted Ralph McTell to describe the sisters as “one of the best young duos I’ve ever heard”.
They are also helped by having top-class music people involved in the album. Joe Rusby, brother of Kate, does a great job as producer, John Breese plays fine banjo and BJ Cole adds his pedal steel guitar panache to four songs, helping to light up When The Birds Start To Sing and You’ll Miss Her When She’s Gone.
There is also a fine instrumental – The Mouse, The Bird And The Sausage – inspired by a Brothers Grimm tale.
A little more experienced than the Carrivick Sisters are Spiers & Boden – John Spiers and Jon Boden – illustrated by the release of an impressive album called The Works which celebrates their 10 years in music… for the full article with reviews of Spiers and Boden and Kayla Kavanagh go to the link at the top of this review.
From Rock ‘N’ Reel
Despite only being in their early twenties, British bluegrassers The Carrivick Sisters have already released three albums but it’s on this, their fourth, that they truly come of age. Comparisons to Alison Krauss & Union Station would not be out of place, for they are that good, swapping lead vocals and playing Dobro, mandolin and the rest like hardened veterans, but it’s the English folk influences they bring to their music that give them a unique sound.
‘Song Of The Night’ is the perfect blend of English folk and American instrumentation, while the murder ballad ‘Charlotte Dymond’, the heartbreaking ‘Flowers with Jamie’ and the folk instrumental ‘The mouse, The Bird And The Sausage’ (named after a favourite Brothers Grimm tale) are all from the top drawer. Their harmonies (showcased on the a cappella ‘ From The Fields’) are impeccable, the Dobro luscious and the fiddle by turns furious and folky.
There’s a sweet, rich warmth to the music that you can luxuriate in but it’s never cloying or overwhelming, and despite the darkness of some of the material, the overriding feel is of vibrant optimism, and so it should be with music of this calibre.
– Jeremy Searle
From Northern Sky
From Americana UK
Prodigious Devon twins’ fourth
Though only 21 years of age, Devon twins Charlotte and Laura Carrivick have been Glastonbury regulars for some five years already, and are up to their fourth album in ‘From the Fields’. Bluegrass is a major touchstone for them, but their songwriting, vocals and delivery are definitely rooted in a more austere traditional English folk idiom. The harmonies on ‘From the Field’ are as sublime as can be, and perfectly natural throughout, achieving an other-worldly unison, as one supposes only the insanely telepathic, or twin siblings, can actually achieve.
Influenced by their rural surroundings and the fables of the areas history, sin, injustice and retribution feature heavily in the narratives (‘Flowers with Jamie’, ‘Charlotte Dymond’, ‘From the Fields’), as the body count increases. Conversely then, ‘Today is a Good Day’ then features the kind of sanguinity and light only possible in an explosion at a Prozac factory, though it seems to be more of a stern talking to in the face of impending wretchedness than a shot of saccharine. The wonderfully swaying ‘Song of the Night’ has traces of the McGarrigles about it and equally cements their already growing reputation as masterful songwriters.
Each sister is an immeasurably talented multi-instrumentalist, handling guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro, fiddle and percussion duties all themselves, with a couple of friends guesting on bass, melodean, and welcome appearances from the legendary BJ Cole spicing up a couple of tunes with his pedal steel skills. Played entirely on authentic period acoustic instruments, the sisters’ dexterous musicianship is never in question on these very sparely recorded songs, in fact Charlotte’s guitar playing on ‘Today is a Good Day’ is simply breathtaking.
The Carrivick Sisters are not steering their music down particularly innovative roads just yet, but can’t fail to impress with their deft musicianship, and beautifully warm intertwining vocals. With youth and searing talent on their side they have the chops in every department to become much more than a sideline ‘genre’ act.
Somewhere in Kentucky, there’s a duo singing folk songs in a Devon accent. It’s part of a celestial vocal exchange program, as that would be the only logical reason that The Carrivick Sisters keep turning in album after album of bluegrass blood harmonies to die for. In fairness there’s a fair amount of death in the songs as well, such is the nature of folk music. “From The Fields” is an album that’ll gladden the heart of anyone who gives it a listen. How can you not like an album that features a track, “The Mouse, The Bird & The Sausage”? Indulge your eardrums with a luxurious treat.
From Folk Radio
by Alex on 29 June, 2011
On first listen to The Carrivick Sisters new album From the Fields you could easily be fooled into assuming they hail from America. They are in fact from South Devon and their music is inspired by the landscape and stories they have experienced in the South West. The Carrivick Sisters are twins Laura and Charlotte Carrivick and these 21 year olds have acheived a lot in a very short space of time, releasing their first CD, My Own Two Feet in 2006, Better Than 6 Cakes in 2007 and Jupiter’s Corner in 2009.
They began busking in 2006 before turning professional after leaving school in 2007. Fate played its hand when they won the South West Busker’s and Street Entertainer’s Competition in 2007 which landed them a spot at Glastonbury Festival. Laura also went on to achieve 2nd place at the RockyGrass Fiddle Contest in America and they were both finalists in the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards.
The musicianship on From the Fields is incredible and also has a great depth spirit and character. Between them they play guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro and fiddle. They also have a number of guest musicians joing them to provide a richer sound:
John Breese (Banjo)
BJ Cole (Pedal Steel)
Eleanor Cross (Double Bass)
Matt Crum (Melodeon)
David Kosky (Guitar)
All except one of the ten songs and one instrumental are written by The Carrivick Sisters which is pretty amazing as they all have that timeless quality which you more often find in older folk songs. One such track Charlotte Dymond tells the well known tale of the servant girl, Charlotte Dymond, who was based at Penhale Farm, on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Her jealous lover Matthew Weeks later murdered her, he was later hung after her body was discovered.
I tried to hide it
Tried to save my own skin
But the mistress turned against me
With all her kith and kin
I know that I must Suffer
For this dreadful sin
Now the gallows await me
Hell’s gate says welcome in
Not all songs are based on folklore or the past. The wonderful If I had Time offers a shared sentiment of many who would love to leave their fast paced lives:
If I had time
I’d always travel the backroads
Going slow so I could see the view
If I had time
I’d meet the minds behind the faces
In the places I pass through
The songmanship is very mature and connected to the land and its people in a folkloric sense, they cover all angles of mankind that you’d expect in folk songs: love, loss and murder.
The one instrumental The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage, inspired by a story from ‘Household Tales’ by Brothers Grimm has a crossover feel contrasting British and American folk in places, making you wonder what else they are capable of. These two young women have a long and fruitful career ahead of them and they will be appearing at many festivals this year so keep an eye out for them!
The album was produced by Joe Rusby (Kate Rusby’s brother) at Pure Record Studios and will be released in August 2011 but you can hear it on Folk Radio UK.
Earlier in the year I was enthusing about Larkin Poe, the jaw-droppingly talented Lovell Sisters from Knoxville. Well, what do you know? Six months later along comes an album from the jaw-droppingly talented Carrivick Sisters (twins, I believe – is that a trump card against the Lovells?), and this time the girls are from our side of the pond, from South Devon, in fact. The headline is that this is fantastic work and I’d urge anyone to get hold of the album or take the chance to see them play – folk festivals, clubs and pubs across the country through the summer, including the big one at Cambridge.
Marrying English folksong to bluegrass instrumentation and style in a quite sublime manner, these girls write the songs, arrange them, sing them , play everything from fiddle to banjo, dobro to mandolin, and then sweetly give thanks and credit to producer Joe Rusby, for “doing just about everything”. He has indeed done a wonderful job, because the sound is great throughout – whether it’s the sparse sound of banjo and vocal on Charlotte Dymond , their very own English murder ballad, or the more expansively arranged When The Birds Start To Sing, a sweet song of romantic longing that features the great BJ Cole on pedal steel. These girls have a huge range of qualities at their disposal: a likely stage favourite is going to be the brilliantly light-hearted Today Is A Good Day . The girls sing close harmony, almost Andrews Sisters style, against a tune being picked as fast and light as Doc Watson at his best, and the whole thing bubbles along with a huge, contagious smile. It’s a song about optimism being determined to succeed over mundane realities, even if just for one day, and I guess there’s a kind of light self-mockery when the chorus breaks into a yodel each time round – ” And the sun will shine though the sky is grey/ And the birds will sing Yodel-ay-ee-ee-tee” .
Laura and Charlotte are just 21 (heck, they look younger but that probably says more about my age) and have been playing professionally for four years already, releasing three cds along the way. I’ll be fascinated to hear those albums at some point, but this new album is music of full maturity, capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with pretty much any album I’ve heard in the last few years. Of all the things that they do so well here, I reckon I’d pick out their singing as the absolute highlight. They share lead vocal duties and harmonise in turn with each other; it’s pretty much a given that siblings seem to have a headstart when it comes to harmonising and these two do nothing to undermine that notion. However, it’s the warmth, richness and Englishness of their voices, set against those bluegrass arrangements, that works so well. Charlotte’s voice, in particular, carries an authority and assuredness that seems incredible in such a young performer.
It’s quite remarkable to me how closely they mirror all the qualities that I enjoyed so much in Larkin Poe’s work, and in particular the way both sets of sisters are possibly at a perfect moment where their skill is fully mature and yet the spark of fresh, youthful enthusiasm is still burning at its brightest. The bonus with the Carrivick Sisters is that they’ve made Devon sound like the very heartland of bluegrass.
From Beat Surrender
From The Fields is the new album from South Devon duo The Carrivick Sisters, a heady combination of traditional bluegrass instrumentation with a splash of pedal steel and a folk sensibility taking inspiration from the sites and sounds of the south western corner of England all wrapped up and delivered with pure sibling harmonising by twins Laura and Charlotte Carrivick.
At 21 years old The Carrivick Sisters are already experienced live performers having played across the UK, mainland Europe and in Canada, From the Fields is their fourth album following My Own Two Feet (2006), Better Than 6 Cakes (2007) and Jupiter’s Corner (2009), they started performing as a duo in 2006, honing their skills busking and playing live until turning professional in 2007 after leaving school.
The sisters are a extremely talented pair, the album features all original songs and they play guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, fiddle and glockenspiel on the recording, additional support is provided by BJ Cole (Pedal Steel), Eleanor Cross (Double Bass) with guest appearances from John Breese (banjo), Matt Crum (melodeon) and David Kosky (guitar), production is handled by Joe Rusby (the brother of Barnsley Nightingale Kate), they are currently on tour in England with dates booked through to November with a number of festival appearances including Moseley Folk and an appearance at a favourite watering hole of mine The Pack O’ Cards in Combe Martin (check the gig page for dates).
“From The Fields” is a mainly positive and fruitful selection that might irk the misery-purists out there, but gawp at the jolly sleeve picture of the sisters skipping barefoot through the salty sea and you find yourself yearning to be there, sharing an ice-cream, cider and a plate of seafood. Unfortunately, I’ll have to stick with daydreaming and play this top album. Again.
Extra musicians have been drafted in to colour in the palette a little bit more, one of them being the mercurial BJ Cole who should really have been knighted for making such a wonderful sound with the pedal-steel for many decades. He appears in his usual understated yet prominent style on two tracks, “You’ll Miss Her When You’re Gone” and “When the Birds Start To Sing”, although to say these songs are better than the jolly opener, “Garden Girl”, or the acapella charms of the title-track, is churlish.
The Carrivick Sisters have a slight air of familiarity about their pretty sound – ah yes, that would be the knob-tweaking courtesy of Kate Rusby’s brother, Joe. He lends an accomplished balance to the dozen lullabies, that generally tell tales of the Great War, the murderous story of a 19th century Bodmin teenager called Charlotte and sinful trysts in fields. Who said the West Country was boring?
The Carrivick Sisters hail from Devon and From The Fields is their fourth release. Playing guitars, mandolin, banjo and fiddle between them they veer from English folk to old time Americana across this album. They harmonise well and when they are joined on two songs by the esteemed B.J. Cole on pedal steel they achieve a sound that is not too short of sublime. Both appear to be accomplished players with some fine guitar and fiddle playing in particular featuring. Writing in a traditional field they have a fine grasp of what makes the music tick with some of the songs seeming almost to be plot summaries from the pen of Thomas Hardy. This is most to the fore on Flowers With Jamie and the spinechilling Charlotte Dymond while the title song is an acappella telling of a lovers’ tryst that ends in tragedy. With an excellent instrumental The Mouse, The Bird & The Sausage (named after a Brothers Grimm tale) included this is an impressive album that belies the sisters’ relative youth. They come to Scotland in September appearing in Edinburgh.
From The Irish Times
From the Fields Self-released ***
Some people take a lifetime to make an album. Not so the Carrivick sisters, Laura and Charlotte. From the Fields is the fourth album by these precocious Devon twins, and they are still only 21. Their favoured genre is supposedly country/bluegrass, but this collection of self-penned songs also leans into the English folk tradition. The twins employ a range of instruments, including fiddle, dobro, mandolin, banjo and guitar, and very dexterous they are, too, as evidenced by Charlotte’s nimble guitar picking on the (overly) feelgood Today Is a Good Day. More ominous and much better is the grim tale of Charlotte Dymond, or the equally dark title track. The low-key production of Joe Rusby (Kate’s brother) emphasises the natural clarity and warmth of their singing and sharp musicianship. While some songs are a little twee, this is a duo of rich promise. See thecarrivicksisters.com.
Download tracks: Charlotte Dymond, From the Fields