If you’ve seen Robert Plant on any of his recent tours, you’ve likely noticed the fiddle player swaying in the background or side of the stage. His name is Seth Lakeman and he’s been traveling the globe as a key member of the Sensational Shape Shifters, Plant’s latest group of musical collaborators. Lakeman has proven to be an extraordinary interpreter of old Led Zeppelin classics and a creative stylist on the newer tracks culled from Plant’s recent album, Carry Fire.
Beyond the bright lights of these stages though, Lakeman is carving out a solid career of his own as a versatile singer-songwriter and a crafty multi-instrumentalist. His ninth solo album, The Well-Worn Path, will be released on October 26 and Lakeman is slowly rolling out premiere tracks in advance.
“This ninth CD is quite different from my previous album, with more of a prog-rock approach. My last record was a deliberately understated Americana set, but this one is more rocking,” explains Lakeman. Constantly in search of new genres and sounds with which to explore, he enlisted the help of sought-after producer Ben Hillier who has worked with bands like Depeche Mode, Blur, and Elbow. What results is a tidy and organic classic-rock influenced collection of songs that feature diverse hints of Fairport Convention, Neil Young, and even Yes.
Lakeman explains, “This ninth CD is quite different from my previous album, with more of a prog-rock approach. My last record was a deliberately understated Americana set, but this one is more rocking.”
As a multiple BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner and Mercury Music Prize nominee, Lakeman is no stranger to the music community. He’ll be bringing his live act to the road throughout the UK this fall and will continue to tour with Plant as his schedule allows.
“I love playing with Robert. He is such a gracious man and still regarded as the best rock singer in the world, Lakeman comments. “It’s a dream come true to play next to him and his incredible world-class musicians. But my heart lies truly in my own music, and this is what I will always return to with this album.”
PopMatters is proud to premiere “Divided We Will Fall”. It’s a track that would fit in nicely alongside some of Plant’s material that Lakeman has recently been performing. With a twangy instrumental track driving the proceedings and an up-tempo fiddle lead courtesy of Lakeman himself, the song tells a tale of perseverance in the face common difficulty. Men and women all over wake up, tend to their work and business, and come home to family, while the decision-makers in power set the agenda and make decisions from the top down. It’s an age-old and worn-in circumstance, but one that just so happens to be as timely as ever in our current international landscape.