West of Eden follows the emigrant path – Look To the West
With the trophy belt already loaded with eight albums; for the ninth West of Eden follows the emigrant path – Look To the West. Reflecting the emigration of 19th Century Sweden, West of Eden’s home town of Gotenburg saw a third of the population leaving in search of greener shores. When diaspora happens it becomes rooted in the lexicon of folk music in many countries but not Sweden. This gap has been plugged by West of Eden with a thirteen track album exploring all the shades of picking up dislodging family roots and moving in the hope of a better life.
Opening with a melancholy parting song Going To Hull, the mood is set as the journey begins. Do not despair the Celtic roots of their music remain but three tracks in the tempo picks up. The tune of Wilson Line is energetic for an optimistic number with a rocky edge to the prevailing folk tune. The story is sung by Martin Schaub with a jaunty air there are no doubts in this with the hint of sea shanty mixed in to this foot tapping delight.
Mid-journey we have experienced doubt and optimism now a chance for the voices to rest as the instrumental Paddy Fahey’s / Sweel a chance for Lars Broman’s fiddle to dance a jig along with the rest of the band. Then we have The List, we mustn’t forget anything sung by Martin and the tolling of the bodhrán from percussionist Ola Karlevo and Jenny on Accordion. There is a feeling of panic, is this everything we need to survive our new lives a solemn number bringing home the momentous decision of picking up your lives and emigrating. Leaving cultural certainties behind. The title track has a sprightly, hopeful feel with Jenny and Martin performing a duet. Promises of a new life together supporting each other, the doubts stay hidden as they put their best foot forward as they embark on a twenty day sea journey full of hardship. Summing up the way in which West of Eden follows the emigrant path – Look To the West – my love.
The humour shines through Please Mister Ticket Agent, an authentic letter turned into song by Jenny rooting Look To The West into real experiences of Swedish emigrants not fanciful romanticised re-writing of personal histories.
The Final Cut a fitting title to close the album a gentle lullaby dreaming number as the ship has set sail and the new life becomes a reality. The wistfulness of saying farewell to fair Sweden is tempered with the excitement and hope of life in the West. The Final Cut captures the sadness of saying farewell it has a permanence hope tinged with fear beautifully sung by Jenny and the instrumentation floats around her voice and the pensive emotion that is captured by the lyrics
West of Eden the Swedish folk band stands out through the beauty of the floating and nuanced music combined with the exceptional purity of Jenny Schaub’s voice.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
1. Going To Hull
2. Rainy Town
3. Oh, I Miss Home
4. Wilson Line
5. Sweet Old Country
6. Paddy Fahey’s / Sweel
7. The List
8. The Crying Stairs
9. Look To The West
10. Please Mister Agent
11. Tekla’s Tune
12. The ticketless Man
13. The Final Cut