Ayreheart grew out of lute virtuoso Ronn McFarlane’s desire to make lute and its music accessible to a wider audience. The Wall Street Journal has praised McFarlane saying, “McFarlane, for his part, is a master lutenist who’s seemingly distilled countless influences and yet maintained the uniqueness of his instrument.” Sono Luminus releases Ayreheart’s eagerly anticipated upcoming album, Barley Moon, on June 24, 2016, in a 2-disc package including both Standard Audio CD and PureAudio Blu-Ray with Auro- 3D 9.1 Immersive Audio and 5.1 surround sound, high resolution stereo, and digital copy via mShuttle.
Barley Moon features new arrangements of traditional Renaissance songs, blurring the lines between old and new, “art” music and “folk” music. Renaissance masters like John Dowland and William Byrd had no qualms about appropriating popular folk music of the era, and the members of Ayreheart follow their example, fusing Renaissance tunes with influences from contemporary folk and bluegrass traditions.
Selections on the album include “John Barleycorn,” a witty take on the harvesting and brewing process as an act of torture that has already attained a place in folkloric canon. Ayreheart’s arrangement joins a litany of covers by artists from Jethro Tull to (most notably) Traffic. “Nottamun Town,” perhaps of medieval origin (but perhaps not) was covered with new lyrics by Bob Dylan, and its long legacy is given a new chapter here. And Ronn McFarlane hearkens back to his days as a member of the Baltimore Consort with “In a Garden So Green,” a popular Scottish folksong recorded by the Consort.