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Photo credit: Will Killen

Come Make My Bed – Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

As Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne preps a new EP, we pick his brains on the title track: 'Come Make My Bed' [Roud 32444].

Great news for fans of death-defying concertina feats: Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne is back with a brand new EP! The first track has been released (recorded on location in St Saviour Church, Leeds), and we’re delighted to be able to share the video with you, along with some thoughts and reflections from the box man himself.

On the song

Photo credit: Will Killen

“A few years ago I was involved in putting together a book called A Secret Stream, focusing on traditional songs and tunes that were collected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Romany Gypsy and Traveller musicians and singers. I was tasked with being the musical editor, transcribing the songs from the field notebooks of the Victorian and Edwardian folksong collectors (people like Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Lucy Broadwood). There are some real gems contained in the book, many of which have never been in print, and I really enjoyed the process of unearthing these songs and bringing them back to life.

“‘Come Make My Bed’ [Roud 32444] is one of the songs I became attached to while working on the book; it’s quite an unusual song (I’ve not heard any other versions of it, though it does share a few verses with some classic ballads) and the haunting melody paired with the tragic story really captivated me. The song was collected by George Gardiner from James Ray of Passfield, Hampshire, on the 21st August, 1908.”

On the concertina

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne's concertina, dating from the 1880s.
Photo credit: Will Killen

I really like the idea of singing a song that probably hasn’t been heard for about a hundred years with a concertina that probably hasn’t been played for about a hundred years.

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

“Much like the song, the concertina I’m playing in the video has only recently been unearthed. The concertina dates to around the 1880s and was discovered a couple of years ago in a very sorry state in an abandoned house in the Cotswolds. I really like the idea of singing a song that probably hasn’t been heard for about a hundred years with a concertina that probably hasn’t been played for about a hundred years.”

On the video

“This video was filmed on location at St Saviour Church in Leeds by photographer, videographer, and sound engineer, Will Killen, who I’ve worked with a few times both as a soloist and with Granny’s Attic. Will is an inspiring person to work with and recording in such a beautiful location is an experience I won’t forget. We filmed a few videos across the day in different portions of the church and took a load of pictures. Will found a lovely dark corner of the church to pair perfectly with this sombre song.”  

On the EP

“‘Come Make My Bed’ is the title track of my new Bandcamp exclusive EP, which was also recorded on location at St Saviour Church. ‘Come Make My Bed’ opens the EP, while the second track is a pair of tunes that Cecil Sharp collected from two different fiddle players; ‘Henry Cave’s Country Dance 1’ (collected from Henry Cave of Somerset and also published in A Secret Stream) which is coupled with ‘Hunt the Squirrel’ (collected from William Preece of Herefordshire).

“The EP closes with ‘Canada I O’, a song that most people will be familiar with through Nic Jones’ ‘Canadee-I-O’. This version, which was collected by George Gardiner from Mrs Davy in Hampshire, differs in both text and tune from Nic’s seminal rendition, so it provided me with a great opportunity to explore a different telling of this much-loved story.”

On the future

“While at St Saviour Church, Will and I also filmed three other videos which will serve as a starting place for my next solo venture. I’ll be announcing more about those later this year – make sure to follow me on social media and sign up to my mailing list to hear about those as they are announced.”

You can find Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne on Bandcamp, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for his newsletter here, and make sure you check out his official website: cohenbk.com.