When you’re looking for a shining example of how creative musicians make the folk tradition their own, the new album by the Oregon duo Fellow Pynins, Lady Mondegreen, fits the bill perfectly.
“Folk Music with a hefty touch of whimsy.” – Bob Boilen, NPR
Fellow Pynins are celebrating the release of Lady Mondegreen at their official Artist Showcase at the 2022 Folk Alliance International.
Oregon Americana duo Fellow Pynins reshape the folk tradition on their new album, Lady Mondegreen – a collection of lovingly curated songs.
“Whatever influence guides their sound, there is no denying the spark and creative buzz that bubbles beneath their performances. There is a great beauty in both their timing and the subtle flourishes of their arrangements that ebb and flow perfectly… they sound at one with the song.” – Folk Radio UK
“It’s rare to come across artists who truly harness a distinct sound of their own. And it’s even more impressive when they achieve this with minimalist means. Enter Fellow Pynins, who is one such group that checks these boxes. – Music Mecca
“Far from a revisionist exercise, Lady Mondegreen adds juice, soul and empathy to what you might call the great folk tradition, trans-Atlantic version.” – Americana Highways
"Lady Mondegreen is full of bittersweet musical stories, and is just what many of us need to allow ourselves to sit with and understand our own stories and emotions. Time, language, and culture may shift and change, but the human experience rarely does.” – Adventures in Americana
“Folk Music with a hefty touch of whimsy.” – NPR
“Fellow Pynins will transport you into their haunting and beguiling world of love tales and spine-tingling harmonies... They’ll have you traveling far and wide to hear them again.” – BBC
With critics praising their fusion of folk and modernist sensibilities – Alex Gallacher, of Folk Radio UK writes, “Whatever influence guides their sound, there is no denying the spark and creative buzz that bubbles beneath their performances. There is a great beauty in both their timing and the subtle flourishes of their arrangements that ebb and flow perfectly… they sound at one with the song.”
Ian George and Dani Aubert, who together have created the historically reflective and forward-looking folk music on Lady Mondegreen, are indeed modern musicians, which means their brilliant interpretations of these timeless songs bear the mark of fruitful revision. In their hands, tradition becomes today’s reality, and the old world informs our understanding of the new.
With Ian playing guitar, mandolin and piano, and Dani bringing her banjo and bouzouki skills, they recorded the album Lady Mondegreen, with help from musicians like trumpeter Tree Palmedo, trombonist John Cushing and bassist Ted Olson. The result is firmly based on stringed instruments, in the mode of traditional folk, with drones and colors provided by the horns, violins and drums, Fellow Pynins use so effectively throughout the album. Some of these songs – “Pretty Polly” and “Silver Dagger” (the latter tune is also known as the folk-bluegrass standard “Katie Dear”), are universally known, and the totality of Lady Mondegreen represents the continuum of Anglo-American folk music.
What Lady Mondegreen does, with a feel for the transience of human existence, is fuse the tangled history of folk songs with the timeless, enigmatic sensibility of the artist Hieronymus Bosch, whose circa-1500 painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delights” serves as the album’s cover image. In its amazing representation of the human condition, the painting deepens the meaning of the folk songs that make up Lady Mondegreen.
Talking about the Lady Mondegreen track “The Galway Shawl,” Ian and Dani share this story: “We learned this song from Kitty O’ Mahony in Balleydehob, County Cork. We were searching around for folks who carried the songs they learned in their childhood and the woman at the laundromat sent us to Kitty. First she fed us apple pie and tea and had us meet her husband. Then she brought us into her sitting room, asked us to close our eyes and then sang and shared stories for hours.” As Dani Aubert continues about the process of discovery that’s shaped their career as songwriters and interpreters, “So much of Fellow Pynins’ original music is inspired and shaped by these wonderful old songs, and it felt so appropriate for us to record and honor them, like a collection of odes, by releasing an album of traditional music.”