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Baker's Dozen

The Old Country: Steve Von Till’s Baker’s Dozen
John Doran , December 16th, 2020 10:06

The long-serving Neurosis guitarist and singer shares his deep dive favourites; 13 albums which have shaped the way he looks at music and informed his writing and solo work as Harvestman and Steve Von Till


Sandy Denny - The North Star Grassman And The Ravens
English folk rock is probably more my thing than anyone else in Neurosis. It's funny because as a young man I shooed away folk, country, Americana, European folk... all that stuff just seemed corny to me. I was just into hard rock, heavy metal, punk rock, strange-sounding industrial and the weirdest stuff I could find. But then I started hearing music from other cultures - Indian classical, Tibetan chanting, Mongolian throat singing - all of this interesting folk music. That led me back around to British Isles folk music, Celtic music and the Celtic rock revival of the 60s and 70s. So I took the long way home essentially. It was those Celtic ballads that travelled to the Appalachian mountains and started drinking a different type of whiskey and then changed into something else. That’s how we ended up with country and western plus bluegrass in America. I went deep into Irish folk music. I really wanted to learn how to play uilleann pipes and I took some Scottish Highland pipe lessons for a little bit but I didn't stick with it, but that led me to Sandy Denny. I went, 'Oh yeah, I know that voice, that's on Led Zeppelin - ‘The Battle Of Evermore’, classic.’ It's funny how many people love Led Zeppelin, yet don't know who Sandy Denny is. It's almost a crime. I got Liege And Lief, with Richard Thompson on guitar and Sandy Denny on vocals, just incredible stuff. It was really pushing the boundaries at the time I think. And then discovering her work with the Strawbs and Fotheringay and then her solo material. I love it all, I love her voice. I had a hard time choosing this album. I knew I wanted her on this list, but it’s difficult to choose between North Star Grassman, those Fairport LPs and the BBC Sessions album because they're all wonderful in different ways, but I like North Star because of how more intimate the recording of her vocals seems.