Saturday, 31 May 2008

Download 'Untie the Wind'!

We're happy to announce that you can now download our debut album, 'Untie the Wind', in high quality mp3 from those purveyors of fine underground folk, Woven Wheat Whispers. And all for a measly six of your English pounds.

Now, that's what we call a bargain!


Sorry if you tried to access our website yesterday and found it down. Seems we had exceeded our bandwidth - that means too many of you good people have been looking at our site!

Fear not, we've upgraded and are back online.

Sunday, 25 May 2008


Oh, and Michael Tyack from Circulus called our album 'haunting.' Just thought I'd let you know...

Nightshift Review!

We had a lovely time at the Wood festival which was small but perfectly formed - fingers crossed it will happen again next year. Robin, one of the organisers, said that singing along to our song, 'Wood', was one of the highlights.

And then we got home and found this review of Untie the Wind in Nightshift, Oxford's very own music monthly. Yup, we is chuffed:

Telling the Bees - Untie the Wind

We’ve been sent some funny gifts by bands in our time but never a large ginger beard. But having suggested they might be a bit ‘too beardy’ for us synth-pop kids before we reviewed their demo a couple of months back, Telling the Bees have furnished us with the sort of facial decoration we’ll need to make it all the way through their debut album. But what do you expect from a band who name themselves after the old folk tradition of informing the family beehive of any significant events, lest they get upset and fly away? Old, folk and tradition being the key words there, since ‘Untie the Wind’ is steeped in English folk music’s ancient traditions.

English folk music is enjoying its biggest renaissance since the late-60s at the moment and Telling the Bees are indicative of why. Formed by local luminaries Andy Letcher, Colin Fletcher, Jane Griffiths and Josie Webber, here they rejuvenate old world sounds with a fresh, spiky approach that means they tap into the form’s bucolic roots while lending an ear to more contemporary sounds, in this case everything from John Cale to Nick Cave (two men unafraid to sport the odd bit of facial hair when duty called).

Andy’s voice is a full, rounded tenor and carries the hushed, atmospheric melodies with understated power, allowing Jane and Josie’s string arrangements to really fly, notably on the soaring album opener, ‘Waiting for the Dawn’ and the intense, poetic ‘The Worship of Trees’. Only on the rather trite ‘Telling the Bees’ itself does Andy’s voice falter, dropping into that nasal twang that can get English folk music a bad name. Straight away, though, he’s making amends with the gorgeous solemnity of ‘Beautiful’, a close relation to Seth Lakeman’s Devon gothic storytelling (perhaps not unsurprising given that Andy grew up in the West Country). The album’s high point, though, comes almost at its close with the title track ‘Untie the Wind’ exposing the power of Jane Griffith’s fiddle playing as she comes close to matching the Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis’ darkly atmospheric scraping. Two border pipe-led instrumentals offer a different perspective on TTB’s sound, and it’s telling that all the songs here are originals.

Like all good traditional folk, ‘Untie the Wind’ accepts modern life in without surrendering its old world appeal. Telling the Bees might recall a far off place, but one that’s still very much alive. Can I take this beard off now? It itches like hell!

Ian Chesterton

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Buying 'Untie the Wind'

You can now buy our CD, 'Untie the Wind', from CD Baby. It'll be available for download soon, we promise!

Buy Now

Monday, 12 May 2008

Sounding Post

I've just been listening to the most wonderful radio programme, Sounding Post, tracing the relationship between wood and musical instruments - a theme close to my heart, I'm sure you'll agree! It was broadcast last friday so should be available to listen again for a week.

I was particularly struck by the woodsman talking about how his grandfather would bless an old tree before felling it:

Hail to thee old tree
Hail to thee old tree
May all your sons and daughters
Grow as strong and true as thee.


Thursday, 8 May 2008

We got Wood!

Hey, we've been booked for the fabulous new Wood festival. We're playing in the Tree Tent on Sunday 18th May at 10.30pm. Spread the word!

Also, those cheeky minxes have used our song, Wood, on their promo video. Check it out!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Fatea review

We got this mini review from FATEA, a web-based folk zine:

Good honest folk rock with no pretentions, is probably the easiest way to describe, "Untie The Wind" from Oxford based Telling The Bees. Named after a fine English folklore tradition, it's no surprise to discover the music being inspired by the same ideas and thoughts. Whilst all the songs are penned by band leader Andy Letcher, they draw on something much older, as does the instrumentation and arrangements. It gives the album a timeless and almost hypnotic quality. It's an album of relationships, with each other, with the land and with the less tangible. Enjoyed it a lot.

May Morning

As I'm sure you know yesterday was May Day, that delightfully old celebration of spring. Oxford goes a bit mad: they shut off Magdalen Bridge, a large crowd assembles to hear the choir sing madrigals at 6am, and then they pour back into town where the pubs are open and there are more morris dancers than you can shake a stick at.

I remember my first Oxford May Morning, er way back in 1992. Something very special about it - a spirit that catches you. So for years now a group of us have been going out, playing our own brand of rumbustious rough music and entertaining the crowds. The group has become the Whirly Band, with bagpipes, drums, fiddles, accordions, hurdy-gurdies, costumes, merriment and, this year, a human maypole! Our mission? To piss in the face of mediocrity. Sadly Colin and Jane couldn't make it but me and Josie were out. You can see some of Kate Raworth's lovely pictures here but here's me and Jos, doing our thing. Up the May!