Sometimes… in fact a lot of the time, I feel somewhat uninspired by music. I browse through the virtual racks of Spotify hoping to find ‘the lost chord’ and actually, very often there is little that holds my interest. But then, on the other hand, there are moments of wonder that demand attention, that seem important musically, artistically and conceptually, that pack a punch which cannot be ignored. ‘Refugee’ is a case in point. Featuring Richard Dawson, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (aka Will Oldham), Linda Thompson, Alasdair Roberts, Ricky Ross, and several other artists of note, the ‘Refugee’ compilation album is a project which “reflects, through song, the issue of the refugee crisis in its many forms, from Syria and beyond”.
Ahead of release, the first track from the ‘Refugee’ compilation has now surfaced – “Most People”, the contribution from the ever enigmatic Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Divided into two very distinct sections, the song begins life as a mournful, agitated strum before, at the creak of a door which is mysteriously/poignantly captured on the recording, it shifts tone into a hushed, gentle, reflective folk song. Featuring just Will Oldham on guitar and vocals, the song is as sorrowful as you would anticipate. Painting a starkly simple picture from the perspective of a refugee who is alone, hopeless and stuck within a pointless limbo; Oldham sings, “Some people never were… my mother is gone… my actions absolve her”. As the song changes pace, but remains just as potent, an altogether more harrowingly resigned observation is made; “There’s no room for love or family in what’s to come… thank you that I know what’s in store, but if it brings love, it comes too late”. Suffice to say (with a lump in my throat), Oldham’s quietly delivered poetry is adequately powerful.
Each track included on ‘Refugee’ is an original song, hitherto unleashed on the world. As yet, the remainder of the album’s content is under wraps, but if Oldham’s contribution is indicative of the tone, it stands to be a difficult, sobering, even provocative listen.
All proceeds from sales of the album will be passed through to the MOAS organisation (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) who have saved more than 13,000 lives since 2013 in the Mediterranean Sea. Read more on them at www.moas.eu.
Preorder the album HERE.
by Owen Gillham