The first name that springs to mind whilst listening to Gone Away is Leonard Cohen, which is no small amount of praise. Recorded on Lambert’s farm in Dartmoor, the record is beautiful, brooding and heaped in emotion. Lambert's lyrics are pure poetry. There's a delicate yet cold feel to songs like the opening‘City Skies’and‘The Torn Days Of Winter.’The female vocals added by Natalie Williams and Kathleen Willison give the songs a haunting quality that only makes the songs that bit more special. John Henry Lambert is, without doubt, one of this country's hidden gems.
Brett Callwood 2008
A quite beautiful album that will spellbind you with the dreamy music and wonderful poetry of the lyrics. This album was recorded very slowly over a lengthy two year period, but it was worth taking such a lot of time over, as it is not much far short of a masterpiece! The album has already been compared to the music of Nico, an acoustic John Cale or even the recent workings of Scott Walker. John Henry Lambert is a singer-songwriter based in Devon, and this project was recorded at his farm on Dartmoor. His producer Richard Ashrowan explained in the liner notes that they did not want to rush matters as atmosphere was everything. The completed article is proof of the pudding so to speak, as the whole album oozes atmosphere from start to finish. The music is also acoustic, with no electronic or percussion instruments used, plus no overdubbing. All recording was done live and in one take so that there would be a consistency of mood. John plays acoustic guitar as well as delivering his lead vocals in more of a spoken word style, with some delightfully angelic accompanying vocals from Kathleen Willison and Natalie Williams. Normally I am not a big fan of having a whole album of spoken word, but from the opening track City Skies, I was mesmerised by the sheer splendour of the music. Also there would be another comparison that could be made, as there are a few likenings to some of Mark Knopfler's more thoughtful tracks. Lambert is also joined on the album by Ian Ritchie, who plays some magnificent saxophone throughout, as well as Isabel Lambert on harmonium and piano. The music in the main is very simple, but sometimes simple works the best as can be heard on the gorgeous 'Till I Get Home, with Lambert's easy on the ear voice conveying the lyrics as would a poet his literary verses. This is very much mood music for when you want to relax and be transported away from all of your everyday stresses and problems. A special mention must also be made to Richard Ashrowan who designed the gorgeous album cover, which is also a masterpiece. Absolutely wonderful collection of extremely beautiful songs. DK
John Henry Lambert is a singer songwriter based in Devon, Gone Away is his debut record and it proves Lambert to be a very mature writer. The whole album floats along with the aid of no percussion, just the odd track featuring harmonium, piano, saxophone and violins, it makes for an incredibly organic sounding album. John Henry Lambert's voice could be compared to that of Chris Rea or Leonard Cohen, the poem based lyrics are projected with a smoky mahogany burnish, the lyrics are mainly spoken word - sometimes drifting into a narration - they communicate across to the listener a real feeling , as much as the form a normal song structure. When you listen to Gone Away, you can really feel the setting in which it was recorded, a windswept Dartmoor farm, brimming with tranquillity, warm log fires and lots of autumn leaves. Lambert lists Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad as an influence, and it's visible - its capability to communicate a solid power to a story by undertelling it and underplaying the instruments. This debut is as atmospheric an album as you'll hear in a long time. Rating 8/10
Mike Rea 2008
Penny Black Music Interview
Of all the albums that are released this year, there are unlikely to be many that are as atmospheric or evocative as John Henry Lambert's ‘Gone Away’. Recorded in his isolated Dartmoor farmhouse over the space of two years, it is an album about loss, not just of love although that has a huge part to play, but also of innocence and dreams. It is a record too of the elements, of autumnal and wintry hues and upon which Lambert has matched his half-spoken, half-sung narrations of things having faded and gone with descriptions of cold English countryside days, dark skies and winds, and echoing rains. In the age of the two or three minute quick-fix pop song, 'Gone Away', with its slow-burning songs, and serious thoughts, offers no easy solutions, but something both more subtle and substantial.
Read the full interview here.
John Clarkson 2008
This Devon based singer-songwriter is firmly rooted in darkling acoustic folk, as brooding, wild and earthy as the Dartmoor landscapes where it was recorded. Accompanying Lambert's spare guitar and cracked leather and dark loam vocals, wife Isabel provides harmonium and piano, Ian Ritchie the saxophones with Kathleen Willison on violin and backing vocals alongside Natalie Williams. The result may not conjure the recent work of Scott Walker as the blurb suggests, but you ll definitely hear the influences of Roger Waters solo albums and, as Lambert acknowledges, Springsteen s The Ghost of Tom Joad. The sax soaked City Skies suggests he's a fan of Cohen too. In which case Williams and Willison are his Jennifer Warnes. Or, on the harmonium droned Lost Sight of the Way, perhaps the McGarrigles. Refective themes of loss and change are sketched with an eye for natural imagery (birds, winds, leaves) and the seasons (the music more autumnal or rimmed with frost than the rays of spring and summer) as Lambert talks his way through the numbers. Actually, with several of them clocking past the six minute mark they tend to be more about the musical accompaniment mood settings than the vocals, more tone poems than songs. As such, while not New Age, they work best when played in tranquillity, the likes of Swallows or The Winter Of 95 offering a sense of spiritual balm; albeit one stained with nicotine and the fumes of roasted barley. I know nothing of Lambert's past, but I'm definitely keeping an eye on his future.
Mike Davies 2008
Aurally Seductive - John Henry Lambert penned the music to the nine songs on this, his debut solo recording. Recorded over a two-year period earlier this decade on Lambert's Dartmoor (England) farm, the collection was produced by Lambert's some-time musical associate, Richard Ashrowan. The pair collaborated in the creation of three of the nine lyrics, Lambert being the sole author of the remainder. The resulting sonic landscape features the sound of the human voice, male and female, married to that of - as the need dictates - harmonium, piano, violin, and saxophone. It's refreshing to report that percussion and drums were not used in the creation of this recording. While the female voices (mainly) warble in support, Lambert's contributions are mostly spoken - his vocal on " 'Til I Get Home " can hardly be categorised as singing. The three-and-a-half-minute-long title album track apart, the others possess a duration of at least five and up to almost seven minutes. Lambert's compositions can best be described as poetic mood pieces accompanied by a backdrop of acoustic instruments. Considering that Lambert's back pages features stints in a Folk Rock and ambient house group, Gone Away is by way of an experimental extension of past labours. Obviously inspired by the natural world that surrounds his Dartmoor home, allied to memories of a past life spent in a city, Lambert's melancholic spoken delivery sets the tone; one that's enhanced when joined by Isabel Lambert's (wife) harmonium. Forced to toss a few names into the air, fans of Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, and Sam Baker might find Lambert's work engaging. What John Henry Lambert has achieved with Gone Away is rather unique: aurally seductive even.
Arthur Wood 2008
Sometimes, you hear something that takes you quite unexpectedly and this beautiful, reflective and pastoral album by John Henry Lambert is like nothing I have ever heard before. Lambert is a singer-songwriter based in Devon and this album was made in a most organic fashion, being recorded at his farm using no percussion or electric instruments and with each song recorded live in one take and no edits or overdubs allowed. He is joined by several simple amazing musicians and with only acoustic guitar, piano, harmonium, sporano and tenor saxophone and violins has produced a pure and devastatingly simple album of delights. His vocal delivery is restrained and, at times, verges on poetic or spoken word delivery to reinforce his message. His use of female backing vocals is sheer genius an adds an ethereal beauty that is just heavenly. The music is roots derivative but his delivery has something of Roger Waters/Lou Reed/Gordon Haskell about it but, in truth, you need to listen to it to make up your mind. This is not prog or rock, just a quite amazing set of songs beautifully played and aimed straight at your soul.