Elizabeth and Jameson – Northern Shores and Stories

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

When we think of the ‘concept’ album, we might inadvertently venture into the murky backwaters of Prog Rock, before we find a safe tributary back to reality.  The Radio Ballads might have been considered concept projects when they were first aired back in the late 1950s and Northern Shores and Stories comes closer to the latter.  Elizabeth & Jameson take us on a journey through songs and stories from the North Yorkshire coastline and in particular Whitby, home of many myths, legends and spirited stories, though not entirely the home of free ale (“Bottomless Beer”) and overlooked by the stillness of the mysterious Benedictine Abbey above the town. 

Hannah Elizabeth and Griff Jameson blend together their respective backgrounds in traditional folk and folk/pop for this ambitious debut, which features songs and stories based on the people and places associated with this particular locale.  The songs are all Elizabeth & Jameson originals and cover various aspects of time and place, inspired by letters and photographs, together with personal accounts.  “Bet & Terry”, one such account, is perhaps the album’s defining moment, a spoken field recording, addressed to ‘Rachel’, the granddaughter of Bet, who tells of her first meeting with her granddad some years before.  I would’ve liked more of the same, voices of real people, real lives and real stories.  Embellished with various sounds of the seaside, notably the intro to “Live by the Sea”, Northern Shores and Stories makes for a heartfelt and nostalgic glimpse into our past.

Choice Track: Picture (NSV 502)