Gwyneth Herbert above to tour The Sea Cabinet

This month sees the release of the latest album by Gwyneth Herbert. Titled The Sea Cabinet it’s the 31-year-old singer songwriter’s first release in three years, and her first completely crowd-funded. It’s a decade since Herbert debuted as part of a duo with guitarist Will Rutter (known as Gwyn and Will) on First Songs for Dean Street records with a distinctively bluesy take on mostly classic jazz material done with a modern twist. As a solo artist she was then signed to Universal and released Bittersweet and Blue the following year before departing over differences in artistic direction and instead recorded for her own Monkeywood records label an album called Between Me and My Wardrobe. This was later issued by Blue Note records, but then Herbert changed direction dramatically for her following record All My Ghosts on Salisbury indie Naim with a noticeably airier much more ambient style. This record achieved some of the best reviews of her career but moved her beyond her jazz base still more. Herbert nonetheless maintains her jazz roots but exhibits a broader eclecticism as well in parallel. For instance she is a nuanced interpreter of the music of the late Fran Landesman, and the songs of Janis Ian appeal to her greatly, as does the music of Peggy Lee. On the London jazz club circuit she has performed regularly in recent years, sometimes in duo with the fine jazz singer Ian Shaw.

The Sea Cabinet is a concept album based on the story of an imagined woman who walks the beach alone picking up things she finds, taking them home, cataloguing them, and adding them to her “sea cabinet.” The origins of the album lie in the singer’s time spent preparing material in Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings in Suffolk, Benjamin Britten-land. “Whimsy that takes itself seriously,” Herbert has commented on her new material and recording them the singer, who also plays piano and ukulele on the record, finds herself in familiar company with her road band of guitarist Al Cherry, bassist Sam Burgess, best known for his work inside the piano trio Curios, and drummer David Price, who has also co-produced the album. Hugely talented guest vocalist Fiona Bevan also appears on a couple of tracks, and there’s a highly mysterious folk duo who go by the name The Rubber Wellies involved as well.Dates are Wilton’s Music Hall, London (23-26 May) following the street date for the album of 20 May. Then it’s the Sage, Gateshead (12 June); Cinnamon Club, Altrincham (14 June); Wiltshire jazz festival, Dinton (15 June); the Phoenix, Exeter (20 June); Hothouse, Morecambe (22 June); and Village Hall, Lowdham (23 June), with more dates in July including Love Supreme in Sussex on 7 July, the tour then continuing into August. Look out for a review of the album in Marlbank soon. SG

[from 2013]