The Rails - Fair Warning
Folk royalty are rare, which means that folk royalty releasing new music is even rarer. So this release from The Rails is more interesting than most. To be fair to Kami Thompson, daughter of Richard and Linda Thompson, she’s probably as bored of people mentioning her parents, as she is being asked to discuss her relationship with the other half of the duo, James Walbourne, who she married in 2012. What you should be interested in is that these two make the kind of English folk-rock, with the emphasis on the folk, that hasn’t been heard from a young(ish) band for a good few years. Whilst they're new as a pair, Thompson had a fledgling solo career and Walborne has been honing his skills as a member of The Pretenders since 2008 as well as being a successful guitarist in his own right.
Their debut album Fair Warning sits somewhere between Bellowhead’s authentic, old fashioned folk and Mumford & Sons more commercial anthemic take on the genre. There are jaunty sea shanties about murder and revenge (‘Jealous Sailor’); traditional-sounding English folk tales of jealousy (‘William Taylor’); mentions of Portsmouth (‘Bonnie Portmore’) and other English towns, and an obsession with jails (‘’Send Her To Holloway’, ‘Borstal’). English folk doyenne Eliza Carthy contributes fiddle on a number of tracks, which gives an indication of the traditional feel. So The Rails start their new career together by wedding traditional and contemporary folk. That, along with a guitarist husband of her own, couldn’t make the similarities between mother and daughter any starker. That grounding, along with the vocal compatibility of the two, make this a very promising start indeed.