I have been attending the Renaissance Faire since 1994, coincidentally the very year that The Poxy Boggards began their run. I have enjoyed the emergence of the CD as a way that faire attendees can take the Faire home with them. This year's nominees range from the the very experienced Poxy Boggards (who have published almost 10 albums, to the brilliant first effort by Wren of Iniquity.
The biggest advantage for the patron is that the CDs are crystal clear (unlike being at the Faire for a live show, where it can the ambient noise sometimes drowns out the words to the songs). But be warned - most of these songs are not appropriate for the office!
Belles of Bedlam - Folked Up! - Two thumbs up to Ruth Daughters' courageous and brilliant direction which produced a CD worthy of their live show. Recorded with a simple acoustical background, this album allows you to more fully experience the live show because now you can actually understand the lyrics. I could have done without the last track, but the overall CD is well worthy and would have made founder Amethyst very proud.
The Dread Crew of Oddwood - Heavy Mahogany - The Dread Crew, as they are affectionately known by the fans, have found a way to incorporate hard rock music into a renaissance pirate theme. They are also due serious props for being the first Renaissance group to use a crowdfunding approach (through Kickstarter) to fund this album. Warning - this is not your parents' folk music - it's music for a younger generation.
The Poxy Boggards - Wish You Were Beer - The Boggards continue with their mastery of this medium. From a beginning where they performed mostly traditional songs, they have emerged into one of the biggest attractions at the Renaissance Faire. Their live shows are always standing room only, and they were the first Renaissance-based group to take their music outside the faire, where they sell out almost every concert. The production by Stu Venable is first rate as always, and the songwriting continues to improve with each new song.
Wren of Iniquity - The debut self-titled CD is a work of art. Beautifully constructed melodies with catchy lyrics make this CD a must have. Of the four nominees, most of their songs are safe for the office. This is a most worthy first effort and leaves the promise of much more great music on the horizon.
And the winner is . . . WREN OF INIQUITY.