'The finest mountain music to emerge from the flatlands of Milton Keynes - or anywhere else.' ~ RnR Magazine
‘Never Settle’, the new album from Hope In High Water, encapsulates the wanderlust and sense of movement that carries through their music and their lives. Both spent much of their childhood travelling, Carly with her dad’s work that pulled her from place to place and country to country and Josh with his Blues musician parents who showed him the joys of a bustling bar on a Saturday night. These experiences left a longing in the pair that would lead both to independently start bands and tour the UK and Europe throughout their early twenties.
Surprisingly, considering that together they have gone on to be at the fore of the UK Americana/folk scene, both Josh and Carly started out in the punk scene, night after night churning out high energy performances and angry, politically charged music. This sometimes comes as a shock to those who have come to know the pair for their intense and authentic brand of folk. However, it is from these roots that Hope In High Water developed a strong belief in the importance of honest and sincere song writing and a taste for the darker elements of the American folk tradition. By combining that approach with an intense love of various traditional forms of music from blues to country, folk to soul, the pair has found an original way of interpreting these traditional sounds.
It is through the travelling lifestyle that the two were to meet in a London venue in 2010. Crossing paths again several years later, the pair quickly formed a bond and within months were both living together and beginning to collaborate musically. With the demise of both of their respective bands, Josh and Carly both quickly began to feel that familiar pull of the road and decided to take the dark, roots inspired brand of folk they had been honing at home out into the world.
Shortly before coming together, both Josh and Carly had worked through personal challenges that would become highly influential in the writing of ‘Never Settle’, Josh having lost one of his best friends to cancer and Carly confronting the turbulent fallout of years of addiction and the challenges of staying sober. In this way the album shifts between light and dark, savouring in blessings whilst also coming to terms with and openly discussing the darker more challenging parts of life.
The music itself draws heavily on the lonesome, soulful influence of America’s musical traditions, reminiscent at times of the field songs of the south or the blues of the Delta and combining this with modern folk/Americana/country influences such as Justin Townes Earle, Shovels & Rope and Andrew Combs.
Although heavily influenced by these traditions, Hope In High Water are acutely aware of their own roots, living in the urban town of Milton Keynes in middle England, a million miles from Route 66 or the romanticism of the American landscape. Instead they create something firmly grounded in their own experiences of the world and relevant to modern folk fans.
Since releasing their first EP ‘When Sorrow Calls’ in 2016, Hope In High Water have picked up features from R2 Magazine and Americana UK, as well as receiving radio play across the UK and US from a variety of local and national stations including BBC Radio 1. They have also found themselves sharing the stage with many of the most prominent artists in the scene such as Nikki Lane, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show), Cale Tyson, Beans on Toast, Aoife O'Donovan, The Hackensaw Boys, The Stray Birds, Otis Gibbs and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West.
Having built a catalogue of songs spanning a 5-year period, Hope In High Water had a body of work that was calling out to be made into an album. Going into the studio with Luke Yates (Crazy Arm) the intention was always to retain the raw intensity of the live show and with this in mind the whole album was recorded in only 4 days. With the addition of Darren Capp on drums and Luke on fiddle, Hope In High Water were able to create the full, warm sound of a band recording without losing the intimacy that the songs required.
With a heavy focus on sincerity and an awareness of conveying the intensity and intimacy of a live show, Hope In High Water have created an album that they are proud to share and are excited to be heading out on tour to promote in May. They share a hope that in a music industry full of idealised versions and un-realistic aspirations, a glimpse of vulnerability, honesty but also hope and appreciation for the simpler joys, may provide some with a renewed sense of interest in the UK’s burgeoning folk scene. Regardless, they will continue to find happiness in travelling to lots of weird and wonderful places, feeling very blessed to be able to play the music that they love.
Time Shall Pass
Bored of Just Getting By
Four Strange Walls
Who's Gonna Hold Your Hand
Angels in Heaven
Heartaches on Hold
When Sorrow Calls