FAY Hield has played York in myriad line-ups for more than a decade, returning once more tomorrow night, this time with The Hurricane Party at the National Centre for Early Music.
"I've appeared at The Black Swan Folk Club right from the start of my career, and I've performed in York with The Witches Of Elswick [her a cappella quartet with Becky Stockwell, Gillian Tolfrey and Bryony Griffith] and in a trio with Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron," says the Yorkshire born and bred Fay.
Sweeney, on fiddle, viola, cello and nyckelharpa, and Habron, on English Concertina and fiddle, will be accompanying Hield tonight, along with fellow Hurricane Party members Roger Wilson on fiddle, guitar and mandolin and Ben Nicholls on double bass. Percussionist Toby Kearney will be absent, but Sweeney will deputise here and there.
The focus will fall on Hield's third solo album, Old Adam, released on Soundpost Records in February, after the considerable success of The Full English, the band she assembled with Nancy Kerr, Martin Simpson and Seth Lakeman, plus Sweeney, Harbron and Nicholls, at the request of the English Folk Dance & Song Society.
"I've usually got songs building up that I want to do solo, inside an idea for a project, and for this new album it was all about stories of Adam and Eve, and looking at why we tell stories and listen to other people's stories; how we use stories and music to understand what it means to be human," says Fay.
"It's all part of a research project I'm doing at the University of Sheffield, where I've been lecturing for four years. I have a PhD in folk clubs; how folk music creates a sense of community."
Her studies concluded that while "the folk scene is amazing, it's also a bit cliquey". "So how do you bridge that gap, when at the same time it does have to have boundaries, both social and musical?," she asks herself.
"I was brought up with folk music; my mum was a Morris dancer; my dad played folk clubs; and I played recorder in a ladies Morris side from the age of ten. It's part of life."
In the wake of past solo albums Looking Glass in 2010 and Orfeo in 2012, Old Adam assembles 14 songs, ranging from the The Hag In The Beck from the 1600s to The Briar And The Rose, a version of a Tom Waits song, via Green Gravel, an interpretation of a playground song from Alice Gomme’s Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland.
The title track explores the oldest story in the book, Adam and Eve and "the fantasy of a purity of life, before corruption and sin". "Perhaps it was a result of developing sins that we have these songs to help us make sense of it all," suggests Fay, who adapted many of the lyrics and wrote several tunes for the album, while her partner, Bellowhead's Jon Boden, contributed a couple.
Meanwhile, The Full English is now off the menu. "We've finished," Fay confirms.
Fay Hield and The Hurricane Party play National Centre for Early Music, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk