Isobel Gowdie

by Ex Reverie

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  • 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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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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Track Name: Isobel
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
Track Name: Endless Flight
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
Track Name: Red Reiver
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
Track Name: Horse and Hattock
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
Track Name: Transformation
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
Track Name: White Dunes
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

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