"Ribbon Weaver" by Ellie GowersReview
The final preview single from her album ‘Dwelling By The Weir' which will be out on September 30th after much expectation, is "Ribbon Weaver" which Ellie Gowers releases today.
Following on from "Woman of the Waterways" and "Brightest Moon" as samplers for the parent collection, it is, as its name strongly indicates, another fruit from Ellie's personal exploration of Warwickshire folk & social history, evoking the lives not simply of those passed on, but representatives of trades, crafts & ways of living which have similarly gone.
In this case it's an industry which was in its two to three centuries of prosperity one where people more or less worked from their homes: a mode of production which the rise of the factory system killed off yet in their day gave rise to dedicated buildings which can still be identified, especially in the north of the county.
Another hymn to a sense of family & community where skills, lore and expectations were handed down for significant numbers of generations until the dreadful shock of the line of continuity being abruptly severed (look out too for "The Last Warwickshire Miner" on the album in a similar vein), skilful writer as she is, Ellie manages to evoke all the emotions you might predict from the above: she doesn't settle for over-simplification in her songs yet manages to pull of complexity with the lightest of compositional touches: one of her many talents.
This she achieves principally through the medium of the details of memory: both personal (through the voice of the song's narrator) and shared familial. Ellie being Ellie, she manages compassion & celebration in due measure without patronisation. She also sets this new song in the sort of traditional folk melody & arrangement which makes it sound like it's a cover from a hundred years ago while deploying another of her signature talents: saying & conveying much in a quiet voice. When I hear the (too) many singers with good voices who see fit to showcase their gifts through volume & acrobatics to the loss of truth in what they are singing about, I might point them to Ellie's example of making less into more.
And less than a month to the magnificent album too!
Ellie has a substantial national tour to showcase her album in November: look out for details on her website.