Album of the Week: Songs from the Haunted South by Old Fire

Album of the Week: Songs from the Haunted South by Old Fire

This week’s album is “Songs From the Haunted South,” which is the first release from Old Fire. Old Fire is the pet project of Texas based programmer John Mark Lapham – of The Earlies and 4AD band The Late Cord fame.



Taking nearly a decade to make, Songs From The Haunted South is the project’s debut album.

Track Listing

  1. Old Fire 3 ( 03:21 )
  2. Along Came A Sadness ( 02:00 )
  3. Helix ( 04:29 )
  4. Know How ( 03:50 )
  5. It’s Easier Now ( 04:56 )
  6. A Stranger In The Family ( 04:11 )
  7. Bloodchild ( 04:23 )
  8. Faust ( 02:04 )
  9. Shadows ( 05:26 )
  10. A Slight Grip, A Gentle Hold ( 03:56 )
  11. Laser Beam ( 04:22 )
  12. The Orchids ( 03:04 )
  13. Deadhouse Dream ( 04:13 )

Verdict: (5 / 5)

A contender for my album of the year award

Blurb from Kscope

Born from an album concept for a 4AD project with singer Micah P. Hinson (The Late Cord), the album was originally intended to feature different singers and musicians recording songs that were both covers and originals. After parting ways with Micah, Lapham remained determined to realize his vision for the album and sought voices he considered special or fitted the inspiration.

The first piece of the puzzle fell in to place after meeting the former owner of 4AD, Ivo Watts Russell, who introduced Lapham to singer/songwriter, Tom Rapp – who recorded a string of haunting albums in the late 60s and 70s under the name Pearls Before Swine. The vocals Rapp provided formed the basis of the track Shadows. In the following years, guest vocals were recorded by Sara Lowes (The Earlies), DM Stith, Christopher Barnes (Gem Club), Rebekka Karijord, and Alex Maas (Black Angels).

The project also features a myriad of exceptional musicians including DM Stith – piano and guitar, Christopher Barnes (Gem Club) – Piano, Warren Defever (His Name Is Alive) – Guitar, Thor Harris (Swans) – Drums, Christian Madden – Rhodes piano & Organ and Semay Wu -Cello.

The 13 track album contains a selection of songs that in one way or another are dedications to people, some dead and some still living. Musically, inspirations range from ambient artists such as Brian Eno and Stars of the Lid to Psychedelic Rock, traditional Country and early 4AD.

Sitting alongside the original Old Fire compositions are a selection of intriguing cover versions. Lapham uniquely interprets songs by Psychic TV ( The Orchids), Low (Laser Beam), Ian William Craig (A Sight Grip, A Gentle Hold), Jason Molina (It’s Easier Now), Camberwell Now (Know How) and Shearwater (Helix).

‘Songs From The Haunted South’ was produced by John Mark Lapham, mixed by JM Lapham and Mark Kuykendall, and was mastered by Ian Hawgood.

The powerful cover art was designed by 4AD’s Grammy Award winning designer Vaughan Oliver, famed for his work with artists such as Mojave 3, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Breeders, This Mortal Coil, Pixies, Throwing Muses in addition to artists such as David Sylvian and Bush..

The cover shot taken in 1958 features Lapham’s father during bivouac camping basic training in the foothills of the Ozarks, at Fort Chaffee.

ITfM Playlist 22-2-16

ITfM Playlist 22-2-16

ITfM Radio Logo

Here’s the playlist from my show on ITfM Radio  from 22nd February 2016.

Tonight was all over the place genre-wise….. we had indie, country, americana, rock and a bit of new prog from Steven Wilson to close the show. The Steven Wilson 4½ album isn’t on Spotify, so I’ve included a YouTube video of the track I played on the show.

I got an email from Kscope Music in the week that included a download link for a free 9-track taster album. See the link at the bottom of this post for details of how to grab yourself a copy.

Scope Music Logo

Some of tonight’s music was inspired by a challenge to list my 12 go-to albums, which was a lot harder than I expected it to be. Anyway, half a dozen of the tracks I played tonight was in the list. Can you guess which ones?

I’m on the radio every Monday from 20:00 – 22:00 UK time and am always happy to get your feedback on the music I play each week  – please leave a comment.

Spotify Playlist

Steven Wilson – My Book of Regrets (from 4½)

Free Download

Kscope Volume 7

Free download from Kscope