I don’t know about you but I just love it when my favourite tv programme comes to an end and you check through the unsung heroes who have been the real creative forces behind the show , and I have to admit this slightly nerdy habit of mine actually paid off this week when I received the following excellent information relating to a tv composer, Roly Witherow who I had actually heard of through the end credits , well now ive got that off my check I’m going train spotting , but do check out this wonderful series of songs from Roly, we love him a lot.

Having made a name for himself as a successful composer of music for film and television, Roly Witherow has chosen an entirely different direction for the first solo release – traditional folk music. Telling stories through his music comes naturally to Roly and by expanding his universe to include sea shanties, styles from not just around the British Isles but also around the world, as well as the whole gamut of life, love, death and a dash of humour, Ballads and Yarns provides a modern yet classic celebration of the art of folk music.

Ballads and Yarns is preceded by the rollicking sea shanty,
Row Bullies Row, recorded most famously by Ewan Maccoll but now updated to
feature electric instruments and even Korg synthesiser, with an even keener
emphasis on the sleazy and the bawdy, a brilliant and evocative tribute to the
crumbling British seaside town! The album is a diverse collection of folk
styles, from the lullaby on the plight of Mankind in Paean to Earthly
Things; the sparse and plaintive lament, Lord Franklin (notably recorded by
Pentangle) and Wedding Song which even features a recording of Devonshire sea
shanty collective, The Old Gaffers, from Roly’s wedding day! The reworking of
traditional songs on Roly’s debut album are reverential whilst taking them into
a more widescreen territory, fitting perfectly alongside his originals which
both tug at the heartstrings and nibble at the funny bone!

Hailing from Peckham, London, though currently based in East
Portlemouth on the South Devon coast during the lockdown with his heavily
pregnant wife, Roly Witherow has composed for television programmes such as
BBC’s hit, Who Do You Think You Are? and Channel 4’s On the Edge as well as for
films such as 2014’s Gregor; Sex Ed (2017) and Try (2018). Ballads and Yarns
was written and recorded in Roly’s own home studio and was mixed by Joao
Noronha in Brazil (where his wife hails from). A nod to the past, present and
future, Roly Witherow’s Ballads and Yarns is 21st Century folk music in all its


Foreword (Witherow)

Lord Franklin (trad.)

Wedding Song (Witherow)

Row Bullies Row (trad.)

Carousel (Witherow)

‘Ow Bist Satan (Louis Thompson/Lily Hurdman)

Derry Gaol (trad.)

Paean to Earthly Things (Witherow)

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