Stuart Forester
songwriter storyteller troubadour

Stuart Forester has quite some stories to tell. And that burning desire to chronicle the passage of life is fully realised on his new album A Yard Of Ale, to to be released 1st May 2013 through Melonstone Records.

Says Stuart: "As its title suggests, A Yard of Ale is unashamedly an album of celebration. The songs, which all have an element of triumph and glory in them, are the reaction to a period of personal struggle, the sort that threatens to tear lives apart".

Born during a Cumbrian blizzard and raised in trailer homes and tents in Alaska and Canada from the age of six months, he was instilled from the start with a wanderer's spirit and a nomad's nature. Like those trailers and tents, time has imbued Stuart's songs and voice with a trusted lived-in warmth; a place to shelter as the listener becomes engaged in these tales of love and loss, travel and travail. Often cathartic and confessional in nature, sometimes observational or interpreted from tales heard, the songs on A Yard of Ale tell of dreams broken and fulfilled, casual encounters which leave a mark on the soul, or the glory of the seasons changing hands.

Some are inspired by Hull, the once-great northern English fishing port the Forester family eventually called home. Such as the true recollections of an old man’s drinking and fighting years in the words of album track Star Of The West: “I loved every minute and I drank to them all, those sailors and squaddies and dockers and whores”. Some are inspired by London (“a songwriter’s honeypot”), the place Stuart now calls home. Particularly the earthy love story Duke & Little Renie, a song written following the briefest of glimpses of a dustman and skinhead girl’s wedding on London’s Old Kent Road. All are inspired by real life and it’s trials and triumphs.

As well as the writer of ten of the album’s twelve tracks Stuart is faithful to the tradition with reinterpretations of traditional ballad ‘The Factory Girl’ and Mike Waterson’s classic tribute to trawler fishing, ‘Cold Coast of Iceland’.

Alongside his heartfelt vocals and excellent guitar delivery, Stuart’s accomplished playing of the unusual Appalachian mountain dulcimer is showcased on the instrumental tune Gitonyossie’ and added to great effect on the ode to nature Bramblefoot’. Guest musicians Jack Burnaby and Phil Martin contribute splendidly on harmonium, melodeon, fiddle and viola to six of the tracks on A Yard of Ale.

The album was mastered by Pete Maher, whose recent projects include U2, The Killers, Scissor Sisters, Liam Gallagher (Beady Eye) and Jack White to name just a few.

'Great vocals and guitar work make this a brilliant album for the traditional folk music lover but brought into the 21st century!' - Colin Smith, WFM97.2

London Pride live at Newport Folk Club March 2014

Although a folk musician to the core, Stuart has an engaging back-story as a musician and roadie in the worlds of rock'n'roll and electronic music. After years of "bands, vans and bad deals" he took a six-year break from gigging and playing in bands. In 2010, re-energised by the acoustic music he'd been listening to for years, Stuart wrote 20 traditionally inspired songs and with a few dusty gems decided to go it alone on the London folk circuit of singarounds and sessions. "I shed all the baggage and, in a sense, re-learnt the guitar – how to play finger style in open tunings and write songs that were the most honest and ultimately the most pleasing and enjoyable I've ever written."

Stuart's ear for melody and flair for performance have stood him well as a regular at the legendary Cecil Sharp House Folk Club in Camden and Wizz Jones' (sadly demised) Sitting Room gigs. Recent supports to Dick Gaughan, Jackie Oates, Lucy Ward, Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, Carrie Elkin and Martin Carthy have been greatly received, leading to headline bookings at some well-established London folk venues throughout 2013.

Stuart Forester & Carol Anderson Factory Girl live at Goose is Out, London - September 2013

' excellent collection of largely original compositions which show a real feel for the folk tradition telling new folk stories' – Pat Noon, Hermitage Folk

A Yard of Ale is the follow-up to Stuart's 2010 self-released debut Pennies for Gold. Recorded live on home studio equipment, it featured eight original compositions and two traditional songs (an accompanied take on The Watersons' 'Swarthfell Rocks' and a dulcimer rendition of the Scottish classic 'Glenlogie').

As he continues to build a formidable live reputation, A Yard Of Ale is the album that, if there is any justice in this world, will push Stuart Forester to the forefront of British folk music.

Live at Wizz Jones' Sitting Room, January 2012 with Nick Teasedale on fiddle