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Unthank : Smith

Unthank : Smith

Two former Mercury Music Prize nominees Rachel Unthank (The Unthanks) and Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park) unite for a new collaboration, album and tour as Unthank : Smith.

The two, both from England’s North East, and foremost talents in their respective fields, set out to collect songs and pen originals that claw at the beating heart of the region.

Though Rachel Unthank has been immersed in the folk world from childhood, Paul Smith’s route towards folk began in his teens with a love of Martin Carthy, Karen Dalton, Nick Drake and Bert Jansch, especially their fingerstyle guitar-playing. Echoes of that approach can be heard throughout their music, albeit simplified and merged with a more direct sound akin to US avant-rock acolytes of the '60s folk revival like Gastr Del Sol and David Pajo.

While their set includes its share of traditional songs, there are originals penned by Paul Smith and Rachel Unthank partly inspired by the bleak, gnarled landscapes depicted by Paul Nash in his role as an official WW1 artist, and injecting some local Northumbrian mythology into proceedings.

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