Since their formation in 2012, The Stowes have built on a shared love of traditional Celtic music and unique personal experience to create a signature sound that is becoming rapidly recognisable across the Cornish and Celtic folk scene.
Often described as difficult to pigeon hole, the group seamlessly transcends the boundaries between traditional genres and styles, with those most notable being Cornish music, Irish trad and nautical songs and shanties. Combine with that a subtle hint of bluegrass, a driving beat and a strong passion for Cornwall and Cornish history, and the result is an infectious energy that appeals to audiences of multiple generations and enthusiasts of almost every genre.
The group consists of members Tom, Calum, Kevin and Jamie. Tom and Calum have both had successful careers at sea in the Merchant Navy, with Calum still actively serving. Kevin comes from an industrial background and so has a strong affinity to working class songs and Cornwalls rich industrial heritage, whilst Jamie’s proud Cornish and Irish ancestry has created a passionate and unique playing style.
Throughout the band, a vast array of instruments can be played, however those featuring most regularly include the piano accordion, bouzouki, tenor banjo and 5 string banjo, each played in an individually precise and impressive manor. This acoustic approach is rooted deep in the DNA of The Stowes, however the group are not afraid to experiment and regularly merge a stomp box or bass guitar into the mix, providing substantial depth and drive. Strong lead vocals and layered harmonies integrate exquisitely to complete a powerful yet authentic listener experience.
To date, the bands greatest achievement was to represent Cornwall at the Maine Celtic Festival in the United States. Meeting and playing alongside musical powerhouses from each corner of the Celtic world was inspiring and representing kernow was a huge honour. The group were also due to perform at the famous InterCeltic festival in Lorient in august 2020, however the festival was postponed until 2021.
The groups latest and second studio album ‘Four Sheets to the Wind’ was released in the latter stages of 2020 and highlights a clear ambition to experiment and develop their sound, whilst at the same time remaining true to the Cornish and Celtic origins on which it was built. It is also the first time the group have published original material, which stands proudly alongside select cover songs and reworkings of traditional classics.
The legendary Cornish folk writer and singer Harry Glasson says this of the album, ‘This new album by the Padstow based Stowes is certainly bright and bouncy and should please a wide variety of people. Songs from the traditional South Australia to the lovey local references in Rape of the Mackerel Shoals and I Miss my Cornish Home, with a couple of lively jigs thrown in. The musicianship is of the fine quality that we expect from these boys and the singing matches it perfectly. An album for every local Cornish Christmas stocking, certainly one for mine.’
Details of the 3 tracks below are as follows:
The Channels: Written by band-member Calum Richards, this shanty-type seafaring song describes a sailors feelings when leaving home to pay onto a ship, and how that progresses to the feeling of paying off again. ‘the Channels’ is a term used at sea to describe the feeling of coming down the channel into port for the final time to pay off.
The Regrettable Reel / Rise and Shine / Be Gone from my Window: A set of 3 instrumental Cornish tunes. the first was composed by band-member and accordionist Tom Willis, the second by Neil Davey and the third is believed to be a Cornish traditional track.
Tin and Copper Boys: Sung by band-member Kevin Brinn, this traditional Cornish tune is believed to date back to the early 1800’s and was possibly the inspiration for RS Hawkers’ ‘The song of a Western Man’ and later the Cornish national anthem ‘Trelawney. Intertwined with the song is the tune ‘Fer Lyskeris’ which translates as Liskeard fayre in Cornish.
01 - The Channels - The Stowes-6845f944