The uniquely captivating Lady Maisery return with Tender, their first studio album in six years. The band’s combined talents of Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans (individually three of the most accomplished and adventurous artists in modern folk) have created a musically audacious, boldly political and manifestly personal record that reaches far beyond their previous work. The album comprises original songs written by Lady Maisery, as well as contemplative and personal interpretations of work by Bj rk, Tracy Chapman and the late Lal Waterson.
An arresting record that explores the power in vulnerability and the strength in kindness; these are songs that acknowledge our collective wounds while striving forward with a hope for the future. Frequent festival headliners, Lady Maisery have for over a decade enraptured audiences throughout the UK and Europe. But the separation imposed by the events of the last few years (as well as time spent away from one another on solo endeavours, with other groups and in other artforms) brought about a realisation of the importance that making music together has in their lives, and how giving one another that artistic freedom is one of the band’s great strengths.
Tender was recorded in Sheffield, in collaboration with producer Adam Pietrykowski. In both sound and song, it’s an affecting, powerful and radically different record to any Lady Maisery have made before. Richly textured, with meticulous arrangements of electric guitar, percussion, harp, harmonium, banjo, accordion, viola, and organ bearing voices that unite in strength, harmony and message. At its core, Tender is an examination of femaleness from many sides. It’s in the responsibility and familial binds of The Scientist; the experience of watching a grandmother become weaker with age, in Echoes; the sacrifices made by women for a future they would not see, remembered in Rest Now.
It’s a theme apparent in the choice of material by other writers too. You can hear it in the mysterious Child Among The Weeds, with its sense of being duty bound to look after others; the searingly political 3000 Miles and its depiction of escaping structures, patriarchy, racism and poverty; and the survival techniques and coping mechanisms of the beautiful Hyperballad. Tender is a record about the importance of finding space to grieve, space to hope, space to rage and space for joy.