Folk album inspired by the cup that cheers

A folk musician is proving it is never too late to follow your dream by releasing her second album - with a title celebrating a good brew!


Atherton singer-songwriter Corrie Shelley’s sophomore full-length The Leaf and the Cane hits the shelves next month just a year after her debut album Painted Memories.

Corrie Shelley

Corrie, who plays an unusual baritone ukulele, initially hoped to forge a path in music as a pupil at Hesketh Fletcher High School but disappointment at her grade in the subject caused her to put down her instruments for years.

However, a songwriting course run by Healthy Arts Wigan a couple of years ago reignited the spark and she is now accompanied by some of the borough’s most respected names in traditional music.

The new album takes music fans on a journey through some 300 years of history, while its title derives from the two things needed to make the cups of tea which Corrie says aids her creativity.

She said: “The album cover depicts the tea leaf and the sugar cane as it was fuelled by copious amounts of tea.

“The first one was more produced with rock guitar and drums but this one is a lot more stripped back and acoustic.

“I’ve been fortunate to get Neil McCartney from Merry Hell to play fiddle on one of the tracks and another amazing local musician Jon Brindley plays accordion and fiddle. Les Hilton, who’s really well known as half of Chonkinfeckle, also plays harmonica.

“I’ve got these absolutely amazing people standing at the side of me and that helps to alleviate the nerves being stood up their on your own.”

Corrie’s songwriting across the album’s 10 tracks ranges in subject matter from the sinking of the 18th century pirate ship Whydah to scenes of lords and peasant girls inspired by Barbara Erskine’s book Lady of Hay to 20th century stories of wars and working tragedies.

The album was produced by Merry Hell member John Kettle at his studio at The Music Projects in Pemberton, where she also attended the all-important songwriting course which brought her back into the musical fold.

She also helped to record Pale Maiden II, a song marking the 35th anniversary of the liberation of the Falklands based on a poem by former Royal Navy medic Steve Butterworth about the national flower of the islands.

Corrie says she is considering interpreting some traditional folk songs for her next album and is also rediscovering the piano, flute and clarinet, instruments she formerly played.

She said: “Just having the instruments around inspires me, although at the moment they are making lovely wall art in the music room! One reason I like playing the uke is that it’s so portable.”

The Leaf and The Cane by Corrie Shelley is released on November 6, with the album available for pre-order now. There is a launch party at The Old Courts in Wigan on November 4.

For more information visit www.corrieshelley.com

More from Lifestyle