Folk-rock trio Leveret has been steadily building their reputation, with their most recent album, ‘Inventions’, seeing the band receive their largest acclaim to date. Damian Robinson caught up with former BBC Radio 2 folk musician of the year, and Leveret fiddler, Sam Sweeney to find out more about their upcoming tour.
We loved ‘Inventions’. How do you feel when you look back on it?
We’re really chuffed with the album. It was a real departure for us to make an entirely non-trad album, and it was a challenge, but actually, I think it’s the album that has gone down the best with our fans. I think it helped that we printed the sheet music to the tunes inside the sleeve notes so people who play an instrument could learn the tunes and play them at home or in their local pub session. We’ve even had people learn the tunes and send us videos of them playing them – stuff like that is really what makes it worthwhile.
All of the songs on ‘Inventions’ were original compositions, so do you think Leveret will always be about original material?
No, not at all. We are going back to traditional material for the next record. We have always focussed on traditional music from old English collections and that will remain the focus of the band. That’s not to say we won’t write tunes again – we all write tunes all the time – but digging up old tunes and making them live again is what Leveret is about.
Is the intention to follow it up soon?
We are actually going straight into the recording studio the day after the tour finishes to record. We’ve got a three-week tour to find and learn the material on the road, and then we’ll hopefully be warmed up for the album recording straight after the last gig!
You’ll be out hitting the road in September, including a trip to Middlesbrough Town Hall. With your reputation as one of the best live folk outfits around, does that have any bearing on how you prepare for a tour?
Leveret gigs are essentially about one thing – the music. I guess what makes our gigs unique is that we are inviting the audience to watch something that is being made in the moment in front of their eyes. Every time we play a tune it will be different, so you could come to every night of a tour and see quite a different gig every night.
Part of the band’s ethos is that we don’t rehearse. We find that if we rehearse we end up playing a tune for about an hour without stopping, which is great, but that’s not what an audience wants to hear! It’s going to be great coming to Middlesbrough for the first time and sharing our music with a new crowd.
Leveret will play the Middlesbrough Town Hall on Tuesday 4th September. Tickets, priced at £16.00, are available from middlesbroughtownhall.co.uk.