Folklore Album

Here are the historical connections and inspirations for each track on this album:

Track 1 – Sunrise (New Beginnings). Each of the Devon explorers who inspired this Folklore album who sailed from Devon to the USA/Canada created historical ‘new beginnings’ not only for Devonians, but for the people of the great nations they landed and the special relationships that have endured since. This album is also a personal new beginning for Kevin having left the Academy of Music & Sound group he founded over 25 years ago to concentrate on composing guitar and orchestral music and performing fingerstyle guitar.

Track 2 – El Draque. This is the name the Spanish gave Sir Francis Drake meaning ‘The Dragon’. He was born and lived most of his life in Devon. In 1579 he captured what is now California from the Spanish for Queen Elizabeth I and named it Nova Albion (New Albion)

Track 3 – Spindrift. In 1580, Drakes ship Golden Hind ship sailed into Plymouth, Devon with a rich cargo of spices and captured Spanish treasures. The Queen’s half-share of the cargo surpassed the rest of the crown’s income for that entire year and Drake was hailed as the first Englishman to circumnavigate the Earth. Kevin filmed the accompanying video for this tune aboard the only Golden Hind replica in the world moored in the fishing port of Brixham in Devon. Spindrift is the spray from sea waves of a ship sailing through them.

Track 4 – Mayflower. In 1620 ”Pilgrims’ who were unhappy with the Church of England had lived as separatists in Leiden (Holland), until they sailed for America aboard two ships The Speedwell and The Mayflower. After delays and complications at sea, 102 of the combined ships passengers and 30 crew eventually set sail on The Mayflower from Plymouth, Devon. They arrived at Cape Cod hook (now called Provincetown Harbour) in November 1620. The Pilgrim ship Mayflower has a significant place in both British and American history as a symbol of early European colonization of the future United States. in 2020 both countries celebrated the 400 year anniversary of the Mayflower.

Track 5 – Maiden Voyage Of numerous voyages to the American colonies between 1620 to 1640, the Mayflower‘s maiden crossing of Pilgrim Fathers has become the most culturally iconic and important in the history of migration from Europe to the New World during the Age of Discovery. The first half of the voyage was calm. However the second half was fraught with storms, damage to the ship, illness, death, a birth, a passenger washed overboard and all in cramped damp quarters.

Track 6 – Promised Land. A few weeks after landing in Cape Cod, the pilgrims sailed up the coast to Plymouth and started to build their town where a group of Wampanoag People had lived. The Mayflower Compact was formed and bound its signers into a body politic for the purpose of forming a government and pledged them to abide by any laws and regulations. The first year was difficult with only half of the pilgrims surviving winter, but the following year, they celebrated the first fall harvest which became known as Thanksgiving

Track 7 – Greenway. Is a house near Brixham in Devon overlooking the beautiful River Dart and famous for being the home of Agatha Christie. It was also the birthplace of Sir Humphrey Gilbert (a relative of Sir Walter Raleigh), an adventurer, writer, soldier and mariner who originally set sail from nearby Dartmouth and took possession of Newfoundland as the first overseas British colony for the English crown (Queen Elizabeth I) in August 1583. He also lived in Compton Castle near Torquay where Kevin lives.

Track 8 – Another World. In 1791 John Graves Simcoe from Honiton in Devon (where Kevin grew up on a farm) was the first governor of Upper Canada. He introduced courts of law, trial by jury, freehold land tenure, the abolition of slavery in Canada and founded Toronto for which he is commemorated with Simcoe Day. He is buried in Wolford Chapel in Devon which unusually flies the Canadian flag as it was gifted to the people of Ontario in 1966. This Celtic tune of Kevin’s represents the differing worlds between Devon, Canada and America but linked through their historic connections. The accompanying video to this tune was filmed on the mysterious ‘other world’ of Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor.

Track 9 – Shoreline. This tune is inspired by the varied shorelines form Devon to the USA & Canada where those from Devon landed and lived. As a county Devon has seas bordering North & South as well as a few lakes on places such as Dartmoor where Kevin filmed this tune’s video. Kevin wanted to reflect the influence of country music in the style of this tune which originated in America in the 1920’s.

Track 10 – Forgotten Sands (Sunset). In 1943, the British government chose Slapton Sands in Devon as a replica for Utah Beach for D-Day landing training. 30,000 American troops moved into the area, but due to friendly fire and an attack by German E-boats over 1000 were lost. This tragedy went unnoticed (due to survivors sworn to secrecy) until a local hotelier found evidence whilst beachcombing! With virtually no support from the US or British governments, he organised for a Sherman tank to be raised from the seabed in 1984 which now stands as a memorial.

Track 11 – Amazing Grace. Religion was a major reason for pilgrim’s and other Devon folk voyaging to the USA & Canada. John Newton wrote the folk hymn Amazing Grace in 1773 (published in 1779). After sailing to Plymouth as a conscripted sailor he deserted his ship to ask his father (who lived in Torquay) for permission to marry but was caught and imprisoned for bad behaviour. On release he worked in the slave trade and eventually captained a slave ship until ill-health forced him to leave the sea life and became a clergyman when he wrote Amazing Grace. It is now the most popular hymn of all time with over 5,000 recordings…so this is just one more and a nod to the influence it has had on folk music both sides of the Atlantic.

Track 12 – Drake’s Drum.  is a snare drum that Sir Francis Drake took with him when he circumnavigated the world. Folklore has it in 1596 he ordered the drum returned to England, where in times of trouble it should be beaten to recall him from heaven to rescue the country! Legend claims the drum beating when the Mayflower left Plymouth for America, when Admiral Lord Nelson was made a freeman of Plymouth, when Napoleon was brought into Plymouth Harbour as a prisoner and, when World War I first began in 1914.The drum is now at his home Buckland Abbey in Devon.