Video: Boulder Fields “Weight of a River”

Here is the new single from Boulder Fields, a band that combines Scottish folk with Americana and indie, creating an engaging, stirring musical blend.  This Americana/folk project is led by Cam Fraser, who delivers guitar and vocals on ‘Weight of a River’.  The song’s swaying rhythms and delightful melody is reinforced by Iain MacLeod’s soaring mandolin notes and fiddle from Amy Geddes.  Together, the trio create an absorbing song that is sonically and lyrically transporting, lifting up the listener and placing us elsewhere.  Fraser’s words are cleverly put together, painting metaphorical pictures of hard-working lives, of searching for something better and striving for more, of building things up only for hopes to be dashed by the uncertainties, obstacles and hard realities of life.  In the beginning, he sings: “I’m building a home by a mountain river // And that night when the flood comes down // Everything I have will be gone by the break of day,” anticipating the hardship to come.  Then the song circles around lyrically and closes with the worst happening and the inevitable flood waters penetrating the home he has built: “And the river’s almost through these walls // So all I can do is sing this song // Now that the flood’s come down // And everything I am will be gone by the break of dawn.”  And we’ve moved from considering the loss of what he has to what he is.  It’s stark and feels real and authentic.

The song came together when Fraser was trying to recover a lost guitar part.  He says of ‘Weight of a River’“When I was working on the ‘Reference Shelf’ album during lockdown, I’d written a tricky (for me, at least) guitar part that I was struggling to nail in the studio. Marty Hailey stepped in and made it seem way too easy. So a year or two later, I still wanted to have another crack at it but this time it’s Amy’s restrained fiddle and viola work in combination with some fiery mandolin playing from Iain that has stolen my thunder. I’m getting to know my place in the wider scheme of things, but since I’m having the opportunity to work with such talented players, I’m more than okay with that.”

‘Weight of a River’ features on the new EP ‘Falkirk Attic’.  Fraser, MacLeod and Geddes traveled to Falkirk in uncharacteristically hot Scottish weather this summer, aiming to meet up with the rest of the band to record some new demos.  Unfortunately, illness meant that this plan didn’t work out.  The trio were determined to make the trip worthwhile and so they decided to rework some of Fraser’s older songs while they were together.  The outcome is an excellent collection.  Fraser says of how the EP was created: “The five songs selected all had a genuine reason for being reworked.  Sometimes that reason was pretty personal, and arguably even quite trivial but still, at least for me, they all shared a sense of there being some unfinished business with them. It got so hot in the studio, we had to finish early on both days,.  But still, I couldn’t be happier with what we ended up with. These were intended to be first demos to show the direction the band was heading, but I’m so pleased with how the tracks came out, I’m looking forward to sharing them far and wide, and I hope people enjoy listening to the EP as much as I enjoyed hearing these two amazing players taking these songs far beyond where I even hoped. I’m just grateful I’ve had the chance to work with them both.”

Fraser has previously been involved in indie and punk bands, delivering energetic electric guitar.  This sound is something of a new direction for him, but also a return to music that he loves, as he explains: “I grew up in the 1960s in Inverness in a small hotel that back then was the meeting place for the Inverness Folk Club. My parents were big fans and loved having folk musicians playing in the bar, so I guess it’s in my bones. Even when I was thrashing through chaotic thirty-minute sets with The Cateran, alongside Black Flag, Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr, I was still listening to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. During lockdown I properly reconnected with acoustic music and, awful as that whole period might have been for so many reasons, I’m genuinely grateful for that opportunity to fall in love with playing acoustic guitars. I’m not in any way done with electric guitars, bass, drums and piano, and I’m looking forward to getting back to the more familiar – at least for me – Americana sound, but it’s been such a treat to make this EP with Amy and Iain.”

The ‘Falkirk Attic’ EP is available on Bandcamp, where you can pay what you like here.  You’ll find gorgeous, timeless music that comes highly recommended – check it out.

About Andrew Frolish 1433 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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