• 2nd May - Maeve Bayton
  • Available from Truck Store, Oxford

AMONG those in the know, Maeve Bayton is something of a local hero... or, rather, heroine.

She has a long and distinguished musical record in Oxford, fronting the city’s first all-girl band The Mistakes in the ‘70s, while her second band Jane Goes Shopping were also a regular fixture. She remains a respected blues artist, has lectured on music at Ruskin and written on the subject of women in rock.

That experience comes through in her second solo album – a collection of sweet, whimsical folk moulded in the tradition of Joan Baez or Sandy Denny.

Featuring only five tracks, each tune has space to breath, particularly on the title track, which weighs in at eight-and-a-half minutes long. And it is genuinely lovely and uncommercial.

Maeve’s heartfelt, pastoral songs, exploring sadness and loss are soothing, pastoral and, at times almost psychedelic in their simplicity and naivety. The title track even comes with a birdsong soundscape recorded at dawn near Maeve’s Otmoor home. The heartmelting lyrics, meanwhile, were written about her husband’s terminal illness.

The standout track is opener Missing You – with Jane Griffiths’s dreamy Celtic fiddle. But really the record works as a whole.

The beauty of the music, Maeve’s clear voice and the sparse instrumentation by Griffiths and guitarist Ian Wycherly lend it huge charm. Here is music to soothe most frayed of souls.