Rowan Godel – Where the Wild Horses Roam

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Little did I know when I sat down to watch a performance of Neil Gore and John Kirkpatrick’s folk opera Rouse’ Ye Women! back in March, that almost a year later I would be sitting down to listen to the debut solo album of one of the production’s key players. Rowan Godel was in prime position to appear in the role of ‘Bird’, simply because she sings like one, which is evident in the album’s opening song aptly entitled “Songbird”. Predominantly self-penned with just three additional traditional songs, Where the Wild Horses Roam is a delightful start to what promises to be a fruitful career as a recording artist.

If “Wayfaring” shows us the lilting sparkly side of Rowan’s pop sensibilities, then the sparseness of “The Snow it Melts the Soonest” demonstrates a masterclass of the ‘what to leave out’ model of arrangement, which allows us to hear the best in Rowan’s voice, a voice that dominates throughout the twelve songs here. Her voice gets even better when she joins herself on the choruses, exhibiting an informed understanding of harmony, brilliantly executed on the sublime “Lovely on the Water”, which could have been recorded in the choir of Canterbury Cathedral in all its liturgical glory, were it not a teary parting song. Joined by Benji Kirkpatrick for much of the album, along with Tim Cotterell, Adrian Oxaal and Lindsay Oliver, this Al Scott-produced album is a remarkable debut and one that should be heard.

Choice Track: These Things Take Time (NSV 496)