Following on from his debut album (‘Only Losers Write On Bridges’) in 2014, ‘Yours for Eternity’ is London-based singer-songwriter Steve Dagleish‘s latest release. This collection of eleven original songs, written & performed by Dagleish, effortlessly brings to life storytelling through music.
Though not immediately apparent from the title of the album & its tracks, there is a strong anti-war sentiment at the heart of it. Dagleish draws on past conflicts for his material (such as the First World War & the Napoleonic Wars) – it is more suited to the style of his music, but also brings home the reality that history keeps repeating itself.
Folk music has of course long been used as a political tool, probably most well known in the 60s revival during which time Bob Dylan came to prominence. Now Dagleish follows in those footsteps with his reflections on the troubled times in which we live.
There is also an overwhelming message of the the power of love throughout the album; a positive emotion to counter thoughts of conflicts, past & present.
Emily Stands Strong tells of Emily Hobhouse (the ‘Angel of Love’), an anti-war campaigner in the time of the Second Boer War. A tribute to a little known woman, and a rallying cry to anyone continuing to campaign for peace.
Another highlight is Governor of Sombrero – based on the true story of Robert Jeffrey, a Cornish man press-ganged into the navy in the Napoleonic Wars. This case, and many others besides, led to questions in Parliament & changes were implemented. Performed a capella, it has the feeling of a traditional ballad, used to pass a story on by word-of-mouth – and is also evocative of a sea shanty, drawing on the naval links of the story, as well as Cornish heritage.
Marriage St./Road to Mary is an upbeat instrumental interlude, showcasing Dagleish’s skill on the acoustic guitar, but for me the undoubted standout on the album is the title track. Yours for Eternity tells the story of two sweethearts (Henry Coulter & Lucy Townend) set against the backdrop of World War One. Given that there were around 1 million British casualties during the course of this particular conflict, the odds were stacked against a happy ending to this tale. The rousing chorus ends with a message to remember: “Try and tell me that love is not greater than war.”
With lyrics that read equally well as poetry, this album is a musical treat with a deeper message of love & peace.
Yours for Eternity is out now and available to buy online (CD or download).