“The Laughing Tree” by Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament
Darren Hayman presents another track from his critically acclaimed album The Violence, which was released on Fortuna POP! last year but has spawned an ongoing fascination with all things to do with the English Civil Wars, with an EP of mostly new material entitled Four Queens due in April and an album of English folk songs of the time called Bugbears imminent on Fika Recordings. Darren is also planning a year of monthly shows at the Vortex Jazz Club showcasing different albums and themes from his career. Details to come soon.
You can listen to “The Laughing Tree” from The Violence here. Darren describes the song below:
“My album The Violence is a concept album about the Essex Witch Trials in 1645 during the English Civil Wars. It has 20 songs on it.
One reason it is so long is that I found it very hard to find a song to end the album. At one point it ended with King Charles 1 execution, another time it was all the people of England trampling ‘Desire Lines’ out to the coast.
It took me three attempts to find the resting place of Matthew Hopkins, the self proclaimed Witch Finder General. The ruins of St Mary’s church are clearly marked on the ordinance survey map but on three trips I couldn’t locate it. I wondered whether the smallest ruins even odd bricks were sometimes marked on maps and I would never find them amongst the grass on the heath.
Driving through North Essex one day my wife persuaded me to try one more time. She looked over the wall and there was the forlorn pile of stones that used to be St Mary’s church. Growing out of the stones was a twisted old tree that appeared to be smiling.
It’s worth visiting the geography of the places where you are sitting stories. You never know what detail they might throw up.
I had my last song; Matthew Hopkins lying, dead in the ground, waiting to fly to heaven, his remains feeding a tree that laughs down at him.”
Praise for ‘The Violence’
“bold and unique record.” The Sunday Times
“His is a personal, emotive take and it proves very effective.” Uncut 8/10
“Floating like recovered memories through warm, intimate arrangements, Hayman’s fragile delivery gives voice to the paranoid and persecuted of the past whilst drawing subtle, eerie parallels with modern times. A major work.” Mojo 4*s
“The Violence is ambitious in Hayman’s homemade, almost hesitant way, but his vision goes far beyond any other current independent artist and is a true treasure.” Q
“The remarkable 20-track record contrasts woozy, folkish pop with dark historical sketches of the accused, and those around them.” Stool Pigeon 4*s
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