GO TO the "MP3 MUSIC" link Above FOR TRACK BY TRACK DOWNLOAD OF "THE BEST OF THE GOVERNESS (2000 - 2006)"...
This is the sound of The Tin-Pot Baroque.
Most songs are a variation on simple ballad form. They have a lo-fi, stripped down sound yet are also delicate and layered and the lyrics tend towards the ornate.
Musically, every melody should ideally be lifted from an ancient sounding popular song - 'Greensleeves', 'Waltzing Matilda', that kind of thing. They bring a yellowing, 'museum of childhood' feel with them. Also, its kind of like The Residents once kind of said 'there are too many tunes out there, and we don't want to add to them...'. Pop music is always about repetition.
The other big musical influence is the drone. Listen to Bert Jansch's 'Nottanum Town'. There is a sense that you could remove the guitar and vocals and there would still be something there - a slow-thighed thing breathing and turning in the darkness. That the drone's effect. The Governess attempts to capture that feel without the virtuosity. A lot of these songs use only one chord.
The Governess has existed in various forms for the last fifteen years or so. We have played with numerous musicians, including Mario Vendredi, who sings and plays on the first two tracks available on this site. Playing with Mario was a fantastic experience for us. He died around 1972. His name started to be one to drop a few years back, but that didn't last that long, a good example of the fickleness of the music industry. He took to the bottle, and in that form has made some recent stage appearances. We urge you to go to and find out more about him. His own music is very different from (and, it has to be said, much better than) that included here.
James Townsend provided the final mixes to all these tracks. The next recording by The Governess will be co-written with, and fully produced by, James.
Vocals on 'Song of the Elvers' by Rose Ellis. Music for 'Farmer' is provided by Carl Packman. We hope to be working with both Rose and Carl on our next set of recordings.
One of the other really key musicians in all of this, although only appearing on one of these recordings, is Adam Henderson, from Inkubus Sukkubus (amongst numerous other projects). For more see www.inkubussukkubus.com/
No. We like the anonymity of folk music. Our tin-pot version of folk jettisons many of its elements (the appeal to authenticity, the craftsmanship, the strong-armed pleasantness), but the idea of it scuppering notions of the certainty of the authorial voice, like the appeals to the Gothic and the notion of repetition, are bits that we are happy to work with.
The 'fake' folk of Paul Giovanni is the perfection of the aesthetic The Governess is striving for.
Weve talked about Bert Jansch and Mario Vendredi above. The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds. Leonard Cohen. Johnny Cash. Robyn Archer singing Brecht. Janis Ian. Anything reasonably labelled Death Country. Our first big, big influences were Psychocandy, It Takes a Nation of Millions and Live at The Witch Trials and a lot of dubious Goth on 4AD. Come and Praise, a collection of clappy Christian songs from the seventies that formed part of many school assemblies we attended was probably the seminal influence upon the sound. Throwing Muses by Throwing Muses is still the best reading of folk we can think of. This years most played: Harry Smith Anthology, Josephine Foster's Germanic album, The Dirt Bombs.
We don't sound like any of our influences, of course. If we did you would have heard of us before.
Most of these songs use just an overdubbed acoustic guitar and vocals. But there is also a banjo, a drum, brushes, squeeze box, keyboards and a bass on some tracks. The tracks are either recorded on a digital 8-track belonging to Adam Henderson, or on our tape 4 track. All songs finally re-mixed and re-mastered by James Townsend.
The songs avaliable on this site form 'The Best of the Governess 2000 - 2006'. Please feel free to download the whole album. Check out the cover design by Wig Sayell soon to be uploaded. If you wish, you could make your own Governess CD.
All songs written, recorded and performed by The Governess and only The Governess unless indicated. All the tracks have been remixed and remastered by James Townsend.
Best of The Governess Track Listing:
1 The Llangennith Horror (with Mario Vendredi)
2 A Walk in the Woods (with Mario Vendredi)
3 The Child's Bedroom (with Adam Henderson and Marcus Gilvear)
4 I Fell in Love With the Moon
5 Song for the Joining of Two Houses
6 Ladies in Waiting (with James Scott)
7 The Song of the Elvers (with James Townsend and Rose Ellis)
8 The Beating of Amour
9 The Farmer (with Carl Packman)