Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay
Jim Ghedi and Toby Hay ? two of the UK folk scene?s finest guitarists ? released their self-titled, second collaborative album in May on Topic Records. The album?s release was preceded by first single, Bright Edge Deep, which serves as a perfect introduction to a record that is, somehow, greater than the sum of its singular talents. On the track, Jim Ghedi explains that ?Bright Edge Deep was taken from a Seamus Heaney poem ?Digging? and was the first track we wrote on this album, following a near two-year break from playing together due to the pandemic.? So fitting then, that the track is also the opener to such a lush, immediate and inarguably authentic album. With a spartan setup of just two guitars, Ghedi on the six-string and Toby on the twelve, the sessions that became the album were recorded live over three days at Giant Wafer Studios, Mid Wales. The result is an album that, totally unspoiled, captures so much space with such minimal source, speaks loudly with tenderness, and highlights the articulacy of their combined artistry. The album follows their revered 2018 release, The Hawksworth Grove Sessions, which brought their sounds together on record for the very first time. Jim Ghedi and Toby Hay are both prolific, praised and established artists in their own right. Hailing from South Yorkshire, Ghedi?s previous work has often been instrumental, exploring the natural world and his relationship to it, as seen on 2018?s A Hymn For Ancient Land but also developing into using his voice, songwriting and traditional material on his more recent album, In The Furrows Of Common Place. Toby Hay, hailing from the Cambrian mountains, professes likewise, that the landscape serves as eternal muse and the spiritual groundwork of his entrancing guitar playing which has dazzled critics and listeners alike throughout his career. All of this makes their collaboration with the world?s oldest independent label and custodians of UK folk music, Topic Records, a natural home for this exceptional record. Special guest is Ben McElroy. Ben McElroy will be hitting the road to tour his forthcoming album Beacons of The Wilderness in Autumn 2023. Ben is an ambient/folk musician originally from The Wirral but now residing in Nottingham. He combines acoustic instruments (guitar, viola, clarinet, whistles and vocals) with a laptop to create folk inspired soundscapes. His last album How I Learnt To Disengage From The Pack received folk album of the month in the Guardian in January this year, described by Jude Rogers as ?A shivering seabed of sound, haunted by barely there vocals and stitched together with lo-fi production ? McElroy has made a beautiful early year listen.? Ben has been writing music since his teens, with just a basic grasp of guitar and recording, but over the years has honed his sound, bringing in more instruments and finding influence in artists including Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan, Richard Skelton and Brian Eno. In 2022/23 he has performed alongside artists such as Haress, Rachael Dadd, Burd Ellen and Gwenifer Raymond, taking in Sheffield, London, Manchester and beyond!