British contemporary folk group Hatful of Rain, who began life six or seven years ago in the The Bridge Inn in Shoreham, launch their new album on July 13 with a gig at The Old Market, Hove.
Songs of the Lost and Found comes out on their own label Long Way Home Music. Shoreham-based Phil Jones (double bass, banjo, vocal) recalls: “We met at the folk day at the Bridge Inn. They have it every year in the garden, and we were playing in different combinations. We liked what each other did, and we got together. It ended up as the four of us.”
Also in the band are James Shenton, Chloe Overton, and Fred Gregory: one from Portslade, two from Brighton and Phil from Shoreham: “They are all good players and we set it up as folk music that had an American influence. It took off quite quickly. We played together for a year and started to write music for the first album. What happened was that while we were in the middle of recording it, someone from the Union Music Store in Lewes saw us and asked if we would like to join their label. We went quite quickly on to doing sessions on Radio 2 and we developed a bit of a profile.
“Now we are just about to release our third album. It is entirely original. It retains some of the American influences but is very much a British Isles album. The music, I suppose, is timeless in the sense that it could have been recorded at any time in the last 50 years, but we have found ourselves a number of common themes, things like what it is like to live in the UK at this time, things like identity and migration: “It’s art in the sense that it reflects our experiences of every day. There are songs on there very much about what it means to be an immigrant.
“We see stuff that is happening around us and we write songs about it. There is also a song about Sussex, Won’t Be Druv. Sussex expressions like Won’t Be Druv can get lost on this coastal strip of sub-London. The idea of Won’t Be Druv is to get it back in the vernacular.”
There is also a song about the Battle of Richebourg, also known as The Battle of the Boar’s Head, an attack on June 30 1916 at Richebourg-l’Avoué in France: “It took place on the night before the Battle of the Somme started, and the idea was that the British forces would try to pretend to the German forces that this was where the main attack was going to come, but the Germans had found out...”