Song of the Day, June 17: Blackbird by Rachel Unthank and the Winterset

UnthankBlackbirdToday’s song is a modern gem in a traditional setting. Rachel Unthank drew musical inspiration from the northern folk songs her father sang in a local pub group and her mother in a folk choir. She formed the Winterset with her younger sister, Becky, and pianist Belinda O’Hooley. After an acclaimed debut featuring Jackie Oates, fiddler Niopha Keegan stepped in for sophomore effort The Bairns. Most of the tracks are traditional folk, distinctively arranged by the sisters and producer Adrian McNally. The disc includes a couple of modern folk tunes including two written by O’Hooley.

One of the finest moments is her Blackbird. She was inspired by a bird living in her garden, singing the same song all day long.

This inspired me to look at why we sing — and the emotions we communicate in song.

That inspiration resulted in a beautiful, natural wonder, penned specifically for Becky’s voice. With delicate instrumentation, the final product is a lovely tribute to music and nature, rendered with quiet care.

Enjoy this lovely song today.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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