The Southern Fold – Melding gothic folk and blues

Sometimes I have to go looking for bands. Sometimes they music come to me. Sometimes I feel like going in search for the music myself even when the music does come to me. Today was one of those days. I often consult Breaking Tunes (it’s a brilliant platform for new Irish artists) and happened to come across the melodic tunes of The Southern Fold….my lucky day.

With a band name like The Southern Fold, I had an idea from the start what the music of this group might be about and my expectations were rightly justified once I hit play on the first of the tracks they have uploaded on Breaking Tunes. The Southern Fold was founded by Kilkenny native Emlyn Holden in 2014 as a monkier for his song-writing. After gigging through most of that year and into 2015, he was joined by co-lead vocalist Laura Hand. With the addition of Frieda Freytag (Cello & Piano) and Joe Maher (Guitar, also of the Mariannes), the Southern Fold quickly evolved into a full-bodied alt-folk group.

Alt-folk might not be the right description. There are clear homages to the roots music of the United States here. What the genre is, I’ll let you judge.

Comparisons might be drawn with artists such as Iron & Wine or The Handsome Family because of the make-up of the band and the themes running through their songs. Furthern stil you might draw the line back to the likes of Hank Williams and early country-folk pioneers in the U.S. Indeed these comparisons are no bad thing. The music of The Southern Fold definitely has a timeless quality to it that could fit in into any era. A lot of the tracks that band have made available are from a recent studio session they did with KCLR fm’s Folk and Blues show. My favourite is “Death Country”. With it’s very rhythmic melody, the song unfurls like journey through the countryside. You feel like you are capturing different parts of a story still being told.

The band also did a cover of probably my favourite Hank Williams song. This song has been covered so many times, you might think it’s impossible to put your own stamp on it. But I think The Southern Fold have accomplished that here. Creating an contradicting tone, the song feels almost uplifting in some ways, in the sense that it feels like he is singing that  like a man who has reached the bottom and sees things can only improve from here. A beautiful version.

With some deft touches in songwriting and arrangements, the Southern Fold are a new prospect on the alt-folk scene here. Ones to keep an eye on.

Find out more about The Southern Fold on their Facebook page. The band are also on Twitter are you can listen to their songs on Reverb Nation and Soundcloud. OR find all the above on their Breaking Tunes page.


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