When it came to working on his latest album folk singer Seth Lakeman knew he wanted to do something a bit different.
“The sound that most people associate with me involves a fiddle but this time I wanted to do something instrumental like strings or use voices,” he reveals. “I was at a charity gig and heard Wildwood Kin perform.
“I loved their voices and they had such raw talent, it was exactly the thing I was looking for.”
After their set Seth and the Exeter indie/Americana trio, comprising of two sisters Beth and Emilie Kay and their cousin Meghann Loney, got chatting and recorded a quick demo on his phone.
“I sent it over to producer Ethan Jones and he loved it and it went from there,” Seth adds. “I have been a fan of Ethan’s for a while and have seen him live quite a few times.
“He has worked with the likes of Paul McCartney, Ryan Adams and Laura Marling so I knew his style of sound.
“The album was a little out of my comfort zone to produce but I knew it would be perfect for him.”
Ballads of the Broken Few took Seth a year-and-a-half to write, but was recorded fairly quickly.
“We met in a neutral place, a house with loads of space,” recalls Seth. “It was a little bit daunting on the first day but Ethan is such a chilled-out guy that we would often all just have a jamming session.”
As a singer/songwriter Seth is proud he has been able to help a new act break into the industry.
“I have been around quite a few years now,” he smiles. “The music industry is really tough and a hard place to get into.
“It is great to be able to help those starting out.
“I think we sometimes forget there are many people out there in their bedrooms writing songs, trying to get heard.
“I really feel that talent shows are harming people’s creativity and it is mainly about playing other people’s songs.”
At the end of the year Seth, his band and Wildwood Kin will be heading out on the road with stops in Portsmouth and Brighton.
He is also headlining one of the days of the Priory Park festival in Chichester, other acts including Sophie Ellis Bextor, The Feeling and the Manfreds with Paul Jones.
“The tour will be mainly the new album but for festivals I think it can be quite challenging to expect an audience to engage with new material,” says Seth. “So in Chichester it will be mainly old songs with a couple of new ones.
“It is a good way for new people to hear my music for the first time as well.”
It seems that while the sound is a step away from what his fans might be used to, first reactions have been positive.
“We played about four or five shows before Christmas with the new stuff and people seemed to really like it,” he says.
And working as part of a musical ensemble with Wildwood Kin is something Seth admits he is used to.
“I have been in bands with my brothers Sam and Sean,” he adds. “It meant I knew what to expect when working with the Wildwood trio.”
Part of The Lakeman Brothers, they released their debut album Three Piece Suit in 1994 and the singer’s most recognisable solo song is probably Kitty Jay. The album, of the same name, was Seth’s second solo offering and saw him earn a Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2005.
The singer goes from strength to strength over the years, and even though he describes Ballads of the Broken Few as just ‘a viola and four voices’, it is a step away from what people are used to but one that is sure not to disappoint.
Seth will also be back on the south coast later on this year touring with Wildwood Kin and playing his new album Ballad of the Broken Few.
They will be at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth on November 11, and St George’s Church, Brighton on December 1. For more information on the tour and the album, visit www.sethlakeman.co.uk