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Leaves From Off the Tree

by Meg Baird, Helena Espvall, Sharron Kraus

Bruton Town 05:39
Barbry Ellen 05:47
John Hardy 03:38


In 2007 English singer Sharron Kraus joined Meg Baird and Helena Espvall of Espers in their home base of Fishtown, Philadelphia. These nine songs, drawn from the English-Appalachian interface, are given delicate and refined treatments, especially when the trio meld their voices as on “The Nightingale”. On “Willie of Winsbury”, the early music-style blend of dulcimer (Kraus), guitar (Baird) and cello (Espvall) recalls 1971-era Steeleye Span and like Maddy Prior, Kraus' voice is pure as a bell.

"Leaves From Off the Tree" is an intensely beautiful album of traditional folk songs performed by three women who show a clear love for the material which they are interpreting. There are a couple things that really make this collection stand out for me: the careful selection of the pieces which were recorded, and the sweet, minimal quality of their performances. I'm not exaggerating when I say that some of the melodies on this disk stand out as being some of the most beautiful I've ever heard. Tracks like "Bruton Town", and "Westlin' Winds" put me on the verge of tears with ease. I am reminded of another great interpreter of folk songs, Shirly Collins. Baird, Espvall, and Kraus seem to be treading similar territory in their choice of songs with occasional darker undertones. Usually the lyrics sweep by so sweetly that I don't have a chance to notice the strange or sad qualities of the stories that are being told, but closer attention is rewarded as the stories of these songs unfold and stick in your memory long after the album is over.


released October 30, 2006

Released on CD and LP on Bo'Weavil Recordings.

Meg Baird: vocals, guitar
Helena Espvall: vocals, cello
Sharron Kraus: vocals, guitar, dulcimer

All songs trad. arr. Meg Baird, Helena Espvall, Sharron Kraus.


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Sharron Kraus Oxford, UK

Musical collaborator / songwriter / improviser.
'Pagan radiophonica meets medieval balladry’
'sensual spellcraft’
'Floating freaky fun of the highest order'
'oddly comforting avant-garde masterpiece'
Labels: Sunstone, Ghost Box, Clay Pipe, Feeding Tube, Cardinal Fuzz, Second Language
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