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Eliza Carthy relaxes in the hull of a blue boat

Eliza Carthy releases new single, ‘The Snow it Melts the Soonest’

The Snow it Melts the Soonest is the first single from the forthcoming collection, Queen of the Whirl, by the folk queen herself, Eliza Carthy.

Eliza Carthy kicks off her 30th-anniversary celebrations in style with the release of this re-recording of ‘The Snow it Melts the Soonest’ [Roud 3154]. Originally recorded for her 1998 album, Red Rice, the song is the first single from her forthcoming collection of four EPs, all culminating in a full album, Queen of the Whirl. (For the full release schedule, see the bottom of this article.) The tracks are entirely fresh reworkings of recordings she has made over 30 years as a professional musician, selected by her social media followers.

‘The Snow it Melts the Soonest’ has the unusual distinction of being very rarely collected (only three entries exist on the VWML website) but widely recorded. The earliest record of it is from 1821, when it was collected by Thomas Doubleday in Newcastle (no source singer is mentioned). When Anne Briggs popularised it in the 1960s and recorded it for her eponymous album, Anne Briggs (1971), she noted that Doubleday (a “soap-boiler and radical agitator”) got the tune from a Northumbrian street musician and that the tune was known as, ‘My Love is Newly Listed’.

Carthy’s 1998 recording featured Saul Rose and Tristan Glover, and Rose returns for the 2022 version with his trusty melodeon. He is accompanied by David Delarre (guitar), Ben Seal (Bass), Phil Alexander (keywords) and Willy Molleson (drums) – collectively known as The Restitution. It’s a beautiful recording, with Delarre plucking Knopfler-esque magic from the ether, as Alexander’s Hammond organ and Molleson’s jazz-tinged patter swirls around the singer’s vocals like a wintery blizzard. The haunting, accompanying video was created by Marry Waterson in a style so instantly recognisable to fans of her work.

The song goes straight to the top of our Lates Folkist Favourites Spotify playlist, which you can find here.

Eliza Carthy, Queen of the Whirl release dates

The forthcoming Queen of the Whirl EPs will be available from eliza-carthy.com on the following dates.

EP 1 – 04.08.22

TrackOriginally featured on
Whirly WhorlEliza Carthy & The Kings of Calicutt (1997)
The Snow it Melts the SoonestRed Rice (1998)
The Company of MenAngels & Cigarettes (2000)
Jacky TarHeat, Light & Sound (1996)

EP 2 – 01.09.22

TrackOriginally featured on
Stumbling OnRed (1998)
MohairRough Music (2005)
Mr MagnificoDreams of Breathing Underwater (2008)
My Father’s MansionsWhere Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger (1998)

EP 3 – 29.09.22

TrackOriginally featured on
Space GirlEmpire & Love by The Imagined Village (2010)
Two TearsWayward Daughter (2013)
Blood on my BootsNeptune (2011)

EP 4 – 28.10.22

TrackOriginally featured on
Pretty PloughboyAnglicana (2002)
In London So FairAnglicana (2002)
Accordion SongRed Rice (1998)
Good Morning Mr WalkerEliza Carthy & The Kings of Calicutt (1997)

Queen of the Whirl comes out as a full album on 28 October, 2022. Eliza Carthy and the Restitution will tour through November and December. For a full list of dates, head to eliza-carthy.com.