Isobel Gowdie

by Ex Reverie

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  • Isobel Gowdie // Booklet and CD

    The first edition of the Isobel Gowdie project: a full 8" square 16-page booklet of artwork and lyrics, plus a cd of the album. This concept album is a collaboration between artist Julia Jeffrey and Gillian Chadwick of Ex Reverie. Working closely together for years, Gillian wrote songs and Julia created full-scale paintings inspired by the legendary confessions of Isobel Gowdie. Put on trial for witchcraft in 1662, Isobel's testimonies are infamous and as powerful today as they have ever been.

    Recorded with a version of Ex Reverie composed of some of Glasgow's finest musicians (members of Big Hogg, The Hidden Masters, Trembling Bells, and Trashcan Sinatras) on location in an old mill building in the shadow of castle ruins in Strathaven, Scotland, the album takes a heavy psychedelic trip through the world of a defiant witch. Full of powerful freedom and gleeful malice, Isobel's story is one of raw sexual and magical energy. A woman under heavy societal and religious restrictions, Isobel chose the act of total rebellion in the face of danger and judgement. A complicated and inspiring heroine for our times.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Isobel Gowdie via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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1.
2.
Isobel 04:41
Wild are the winds combing the grass outside my window I watch them through panes of heavy glass still as a widow Once I would run, fleet as the hare through hawk or howl Now I sit and sew, while the winds blow condemned to watch My father gave my hand to a godly man as stern and cold as the stone as old as him Once all the men of our town would smile to see my red hair free in flight and free Wild are the winds combing the grass outside my window Today is the one day of the year I have leave to go Margaret and I set upon the path Sun high and bright A figure stands before us on the road And crows take flight Yes I was walking to the fair When I came upon a strange man there He was dark of dress and dark of hair Offered a hand Offered his hand Now I go in the Devil’s name But I will return again Now I go in the Devil’s name But I will remain Isobel
3.
Last night upon the hour when good men hope to be safe inside We took to the dark sky on an endlessly long flight To Downie Mountain we sought That Hall that lies beneath Guarded at the gates by rearing bulls with gnashing teeth The sky went the color of old blood salt and sulphur filled our lungs I saw it clearly that there was no going back the way we'd come The only course left to us then was the one with which we are born Go forward with ferocity at all moments, go on For it may be now that there is no land left that truly exists For we have several times now seen it dissolve right into the mist
4.
Red Reiver 03:57
All you fine lords and ladies in gold Bar your doors, call your guards An unholy wind seems to cry your name Not a door in your house can keep it out All you good god-fearing neighbors Cast your eyes on us with scorn Implore with extra prayers for safety At the Sunday mass at the Kirk of Auldearn When the sun sinks and you’ve gone home At the Reader’s desk, it’s our turn We fall to our knees with our hair in our faces And it’s our lord who sits there with one cruel hand on his black book Baptized as a babe I renounced it all that day One hand each on my head and my feet And I pledged everything between
5.
A fire is coming, better take care Come Fire Down from the hilltops, laying all bare Come Fire It'll claim this kirk and the land beneath Come Fire Drive you out of the door on your knees Come Fire Horse and Hattock Horse and go Horse and pelatis Ho, ho Storm is coming, better take care Come Water It'll sweep and slaughter anything left bare Come Water From out at sea, heading for landfall Come Water Hold close what's dear or lose it all Come Water Horse and Hattock Horse and go Horse and pelatis Ho, ho
6.
First the word, then a breath and a quick shout A blinding light and a sudden rush of sound Lifted up, lifted up and put back down Landing light and lithe upon the ground Oh little girl, with your heart held like a fist Come run with us, run and rend with wrath so swift Taste blood and salt, broken bones blinking eyes Up from the earth with tooth and claw we rise Hare Hare god send thee care Hare Hare god send thee care I will go into a hare I will Down in the valley all in his name Sorrow and sighs and mickle care Oh little girl with your heart held like a fist Come run with us run and rend with wrath so swift Taste blood and salt broken bones and blinking eyes First the word then a breath and a quick shout A blinding light and a sudden rush of sound Lifted up, lifted up and put back down Landing light and lithe upon the ground
7.
White Dunes 09:02
White dunes on the far horizon meet and tie the sky to the land I was bound to this place by a force it seemed, as strong as what holds them The sun wheeled up and down and up again On that wheel I feared I’d turn until the end When he comes I’d know his voice No matter what my eyes can see For that voice I’d take a torch to this place Let the dunes look back at me Let the wheel turn for somebody else I served my time and I’m out now The sound is just like the storm striking Ringing out and in so clearly Sounding deep into my bones And calls me to my feet The sun it seems to hang in mid-air Called by that same voice to be here Spilling down my back and burns away the fear And if it burns me too so be it Bring the shackles bring the prayer books Wring your hands and curse my name I take no shame And if you offered years of reprieve Paid out in only cold nights I’d feed them all to the fire Let them be the fuel for this light Let it build let it burn bright I'll stand here beside Now the stars burn for me And the bonfires are circling To cast my shadow miles Miles and years let them see me For within outward burning Standing upright And alive

about

The first edition of the Isobel Gowdie project is available now! a full 8" square booklet of artwork and lyrics, plus a cd of the album. This concept album is a collaboration between artist Julia Jeffrey and Gillian Chadwick of Ex Reverie. Working closely together for years, Gillian wrote songs and Julia created full-scale paintings inspired by the legendary confessions of Isobel Gowdie. Put on trial for witchcraft in 1662, Isobel's testimonies are infamous and as powerful today as they have ever been.

Recorded with a version of Ex Reverie composed of some of Glasgow's finest musicians (members of Big Hogg, The Hidden Masters, Trembling Bells, and Trashcan Sinatras) on location in an old mill building in the shadow of castle ruins in Strathaven, Scotland, the album takes a heavy psychedelic trip through the world of a defiant witch. Full of powerful freedom and gleeful malice, Isobel's story is one of raw sexual and magical energy. A woman under heavy societal and religious restrictions, Isobel chose the act of total rebellion in the face of danger and judgement. A complicated and inspiring heroine for our times.

credits

released May 1, 2019

Lyrics and songs by Gillian Chadwick

Artwork by Julia Jeffrey

“Horse and Hattock” lyrics written with Julia Jeffrey, with musical inspiration from the assembled singers: Julia, Justin, Lavinia, Alasdair, and Stephen. “White Dunes” finale music brought to life by the full Glaswegian Ex Reverie band: Justin, Alasdair, and Stephen. Isobel Gowdie’s own words speak throughout these pieces. Thank you, Isobel!

Engineered by Luigi Pasquini at the Old Mill, Strathaven, Scotland.

Vocals and keyboards recorded by Jeff Ziegler at Uniform Recording, Philadelphia.

Mixed by Justin Lumsden and Luigi Pasquini with the band at Lo Fi studios, Glasgow

Mastered by Ryan Schwabe

Musicians:

Gillian Chadwick: Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards // Justin Lumsden: Lead Guitars, Vocals // Alasdair C Mitchell: Bass Guitar, Vocals // Stephen Douglas: Drums, Vocals // Julia Jeffrey: Vocals // Lavinia Blackwall: Vocals // Michael Hastings: Vocals // Sophie Sexon: Vocals, Flute // Richard Merchant: Horns // Ross McCrae: Horns // Michael Tanner: Bells // Jeff Zeigler: Synths

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Ex Reverie Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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