"Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk"

‘Seasons They Change’: a book by Jeanette Leech featuring C93 and many others

Seasons They Change by Jeanette LeechA wonderful, imaginative, insightful and comprehensive book written by my friend Jeanette Leech has just been published. It is highly recommended by me! I asked Jeanette to write something for the Coptic Cat website, which follows:


David has offered me the opportunity to introduce my book, Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk. It’s a long narrative of the innovations in folk music from the 1960s to the present day, covering the artists often called ‘acid folk’, as well as the wider story of experimental attitudes to folk music over the decades.


I interviewed over a hundred artists for the book including David Tibet/Current 93, and many with whom David has collaborated – Shirley Collins, Clodagh Simmonds, Bill Fay and Simon Finn. Other artists covered include Comus, Vashti Bunyan, Espers, Pearls Before Swine, Dredd Foole, Stone Breath, Devendra Banhart, The Tower Recordings, Incredible String Band, Alasdair Roberts, Donovan, Holy Modal Rounders, C.O.B., Pat Kilroy, Mark Fry, Josephine Foster, Islaja, Tim Buckley, The Sun Also Rises, Joanna Newsom, Fern Knight, Marissa Nadler, Simon Finn, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Perry Leopold, Sonja Kristina, Trader Horne, Bread Love & Dreams, Linda Perhacs, Trees, Sharron Kraus, The Owl Service, Mellow Candle, Will Oldham, Circulus, Jane Weaver, Vetiver, Forest, Susan Christie, Dr Strangely Strange, Lau Nau, Spires That In The Sunset Rise… and many, many, many more.


The book can be bought from major booksellers across the UK and US, online retailers, Rough Trade and other record shops, and can always be ordered from your local independent bookstore.


And below is the official press release by the publishers:


In the late 60s and early 70s the inherent weirdness of folk met switched-on psychedelic rock and gave birth to new, strange forms of acoustic-based avant garde music. Artists on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Incredible String Band, Vashti Bunyan, Pearls Before Swine and Comus, combined sweet melancholy and modal melody with shape-shifting experimentation to create sounds of unsettling oddness that sometimes go under the name acid or psych folk. A few of these artists – notably the String Band, who actually made it to Woodstock – achieved mainstream success, while others remained resolutely entrenched underground. But by the mid-70s even the bigger artists found sales dwindling, and this peculiar hybrid musical genre fell profoundly out of favour. For 30 years it languished in obscurity, apparently beyond the reaches of cultural reassessment, until, in the mid-2000s a new generation of artists collectively tagged ‘New Weird America’ and spearheaded by Devendra Banhart, Espers and Joanna Newsom rediscovered acid and psych folk, revered it and from it, created something new.

Thanks partly to this new movement, many original acid and psych folk artists have re-emerged, and original copies of rare albums command high prices. Meanwhile, both Britain and America are home to intensely innovative artists continuing the tradition of delving simultaneously into contemporary and traditional styles to create something unique.

Seasons They Change tells the story of the birth, death and resurrection of acid and psych folk. It explores the careers of the original wave of artists and their contemporary equivalents, finding connections between both periods, and uncovering a previously hidden narrative of musical adventure.


Jeanette Leech is a writer, researcher, DJ and music historian. She writes regularlyfor Shindig! magazine, and as part of the B-Music collective she has DJ’d throughout the UK, including at the female acid folk events known as ‘Bearded Ladies’ and the Green Man Festival. She writes extensively in the health and social care fields. Seasons They Change is her first book about music.