The Eighteenth Day of May
The Eighteenth Day of May
Label: Rykodisc
Genre: Folk
Online: Artist Website


THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF MAY are a five-piece, London based group. Originally formed as an acoustic trio comprising American singer and flautist ALISON BRICE, Swedish-born RICHARD OLSON (acoustic guitar, harmonica and sitar) and Oxfordshire-based guitarist and mandolin player BEN PHILLIPSON; the group's original intention was to combine elements of traditional and contemporary folk stylings with a psychedelic "underground" rock sound. They spent the summer and autumn of 2003 making home demo recordings and, having established the bare bones of a reportoire, THE MAY went electric early in 2004, adding rhythm section MARK NICHOLAS (bass), KARL SABINO (drums,autoharp) and ALISON COTTON (viola). The resulting sound is accessible, yet exciting and unique; and almost completely divorced from what the UK music scene has to offer, at present.

Part of what seperates THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF MAY from their peers in the world of indie rock is a deep-rooted love for the pioneers of the folk revival. Traditional singers like Shirley Collins, Martin Carthy and Jean Richie have influenced the inclusion of songs in the group's current stage set, while electric folk innovators such as Pentangle, The Trees and the early Fairport Convention have undoubtedly laid foundations for the group to build on. The group has little in common with the folk-scene of today, however, mainly due to their inability to "play it safe". Still relatively young (the group members are all in their late twenties and early thirties), the group has an experimental, musically ambitious edge- equally inspired by the Velvet Underground's drone and feedback and the more dreamy qualities of psychedelia. The group's own material is inspired partly by this approach and partly by the storytelling aspect of traditional songs and murder ballads.

THE MAY have recently recorded seven tracks with Blue States mastermind Andy Dragizis, which will form the basis of an album to be released early in 2005. In the meantime, they plan to perform live on a regular bass, bringing their personalised take on "the people's music" back to the live circuit.