Shirley Collins released the excellent Heart’s Ease last year; her second album for Domino, it showcased Collins with her confidence fully returned. An album broader & brighter in tone than 2016’s Lodestar (her first record in 38 years), it found Shirley exploring warmer themes and featured four non-traditional songs including Heart’s Ease’s closing track “Crowlink”.
Today, Shirley Collins is pleased to announce a new EP, Crowlink, due July 30th. The EP is named after a particular hamlet in the Seven Sisters (a series of undulating hills on the Sussex coast) with a pathway that overlooks the English Channel which is one of Shirley’s favourite places to be.
Picking up from Heart’s Ease’s finale, the Crowlink EP is a collection of songs sung by Shirley Collins and featuring field recordings from the edge of the cliffs at Crowlink, Firle Church and Etchingham recorded by Matthew Shaw. Shaw also produced the EP and played additional instrumentation across the EP’s five songs.
Alongside the Crowlink announcement, Shirley Collins shares “My Sailor Boy” from the EP, which finds Shirley singing over a moody, atmospheric fusion of sounds and demonstrates a more experimental side to the folk veteran. Elsewhere on the EP, Ossian Brown’s hurdy-gurdy rings through on “The Rose and the Briar” and the artwork is by author, painter, film maker & provocateur Brian Catling.
Directed by Grant Gee, the video for “My Sailor Boy” mirrors the eerie sound and mystical feel of the EP.
Alongside the EP, there will be two special Crowlink shows at Charleston Trust, East Sussex at the end of the month which features an immersive sound installation as well as performances from Matthew Shaw, Brian Catling and an intimate concert from Shirley Collins and the Lodestar Band.
The sound installation contains fragments of letters, diaries and prose from Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell and the Bloomsbury Group (Charleston Trust is the former home of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant) as well as poems and extracted writings voiced by Shirley Collins, Jeremy Deller, Zakia Sewell, Benjamin Zephaniah, Heather Leigh, Laura Barton, Mark Fry, Lally MacBeth, Peter Owen Jones, Hannah Peel, Sam Lee, Amy Grantham, Alex Merry and Matthew Shaw.
1. Across The Field
2. At Break of Day
3. Through All Eternity
4. My Sailor Boy
5. The Rose and the Briar