BLOOD, BOOZE & BETRAYAL is the debut album of Freelance Nun, an amorphous and adventurous duo-led collective founded by Tracy Cowart & Sian Ricketts. Recorded between 2020-2023 at The Carriage House and Tiny Panther Recording and released on November 10, 2023, this album features 8 new tracks that venture into the delightful macabre in collaboration with the likewise off-kilter Celtic/Americana band The Chivalrous Crickets.
An album at the intersection of traditional English, Celtic, and American folk, and early (Medieval/Renaissance/Baroque) European art music, BLOOD, BOOZE & BETRAYAL features creative arrangements of songs about dark choices (“Three Ravens/Twa Corbies” and “Cruel Mother”), imbibing (the traditional American “Three Nights Drunk” and its much earlier Scottish predecessor “Ham Came Our Gudeman at E’en”), and a newly-composed cantata about the travels of the relic hand of Saint James…from the point of view of the hand. It’s a historically inclusive album with early instruments like recorders, douçaines, and viols rubbing frequencies with accordions, Irish flute, and harmonica.
Tracy Cowart (voice, medieval harps, percussion); Fiona Gillespie (voice, Irish flute); Caitlin Hedge (voice, baroque violin); Paul Holmes Morton (baroque guitar, banjo, colascione, harmonica); Loren Ludwig (bass viola da gamba); Sian Ricketts (voice, recorders, douçaines); Spiff Wiegand (accordion, mandolin, banjo, jaw harp, percussion).
Produced by Ellie Sutherland, Charles Mueller, Tracy Cowart & Sian Ricketts; engineered by Charles Mueller; mastered by Mike Tierney. Cover art & design by Tracy Cowart.