The Flowerpot Sessions is the second compilation to be released from Communion Records, the brainchild of son of Mumford Ben Lovett and his label partners Kevin Jones and Ian Grimble. The trio decided to take over the legendary, yet sadly no longer with us Kentish Town venue, The Flowerpot and invite a bunch of their favourite musicians to come along, drink, collaborate and to record music during one extremely creative week. The result of these efforts takes the form of a two disc compilation featuring the likes of Angus & Julia Stone, Marcus Foster, Pete Roe, Sarah Blasko and even a cameo appearance from Damien Rice.
One of the main ideas behind The Flowerpot Sessions, according to its organisers, was that it wasn’t to be polished. The collection was to be kept as true to its original state as the recording process would allow, letting listeners hear the natural, organic, living, breathing music that was produced throughout the recording week. Most of the tracks on this compilation are guitar and vocal based, with the Sarah Blasko tracks ‘All I Want’ and ‘To Let Go’ being particular treats. Her two contributions are achingly poignant, proving that the environment created at The Flowerpot by the Communion boys was a perfect place in which to record her brand of tender, yearning, soulful folk.
The second disc of the compilation holds another treat, in the form of an unplanned collaboration between Angus & Julia Stone and Damien Rice, who crack out that old folk classic….Grease’s ‘You’re the One That I Want’. This track is completely enthralling, and showcases each performer’s remarkable respective talent as they turn the song into an aching ode to one another. The fact that it was recorded in front of a live audience really adds to the feel of the record too, as the crowd make it known how much they are enjoying this impromptu performance.
There is certainly a Communion sound to be heard on this record. Most of the music is the label’s traditional brand of guitar based singer-songwriter folk, but rather than letting the compilation become too bogged down in emotion, a few little bursts of energy are injected. For example, a lively little number from Beans on Toast is added to lighten any monotony or pretention that might have threatened to creep into the fold.
‘Scattered Hearts’, as performed by Monument Valley is a really touching piece featuring a cello, a lilting acoustic guitar and a gloriously strong London accent. Equally as pretty is ‘Mexico’ from The Staves, a soft and poignant song allowing the Watford three-piece to really show of their gorgeous vocals and harmonic ability.
The Flowerpot Sessions is no ordinary compilation, it’s very much the chronicle of a creative experience in a very specific time and place. It’s also quite a fitting ode to the unfortunately fated Flowerpot, as it shows off the gorgeous acoustics of the late venue as well as the spirit that made The Flowerpot what it was. The Flowerpot Sessions is a celebration on musicianship, of song writing, of spontaneous musical relationships and of what can be created if the right space is provided. The Communion family have done a sterling job compiling this release, and following the success of its recording and the fun that was had, will be sure to indulge in a project of a similar ilk in the future.