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Album Premiere: Dead Reckoning by The Jellyman's Daughter

The Jellyman's Daughter - Photo Credit: Graeme MacDonald
18 September 2018

The Jellyman’s Daughter – Photo Credit: Graeme MacDonald

Dead Reckoning, the new album from The Jellyman’s Daughter, takes its title from a navigational term the Edinburgh-based duo feel that, when applied to the human spirit, is analogous to navigating our way through life, and how we progress (or otherwise). This theme permeates the 10 songs on the new record in different ways, ranging from the overwhelming sense of bleakness imbued by many world events in recent years to more personal experiences of steering a course through relationships and journeys both physical and emotional.

Emily Kelly (vocals/mandolin/guitar) and Graham Coe (vocals/cell/mandolin/guitar) have created material that blurs the boundaries of genre, incorporating the vocal harmonies and distinctive cello playing that define The Jellyman’s Daughter, while adding a 16-piece string orchestra on some of the tracks, in others virtuosic banjo, weighty double bass, and somber fiddles, as well as presenting the duo in their raw, intimate form.

After making each other’s acquaintance in Edinburgh in 2011, the pair soon found a love for playing music with each other, staying up into the wee hours making home recordings. The duo’s debut album, released in late 2014, established them as something fresh and exciting. Reviewers unanimously remarked upon the originality in Emily and Graham’s song-writing and arrangements, while they enjoyed the sweet closeness of their vocal harmonies, as well as Graham’s unconventional cello playing.

Dead Reckoning represents a substantial step forward in the maturity of the songs, arrangements, performances, and production. Featuring prominently is banjo player Jamie Francis (of Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys) and double bassist Paul Gilbody (KT Tunstall, Adam Holmes & The Embers), while Toby Shaer (Cara Dillon, John McCusker) provides fiddle on two songs. Graham himself wrote the arrangements for the 16-piece string orchestra, while Edinburgh-based composer Luci Holland conducted the ensemble during recording.

2018 will see The Jellyman’s Daughter touring in the UK, Europe, Canada, and the USA in support of the new album, with the LP’s vinyl launch proposed in the final months of this year.

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