As I’ve walked my virtual Camino in recent months it’s given me the opportunity to catch up on the many great podcasts posted by our Camino promoting friend, Dan Mullins. Recently, I came across an interview Dan did with musician Hannah Acfield back in 2018.
Hannah and Dan Acfield are the brother and sister duo know as The Acfields. Brought up in central Queensland, they are talented multi-
instrumentalists who produce amazing vocal harmonies. This is clearly evident in their Camino inspired 2018 album, “A Road of Dust and Stone”. In 2015 Hannah walked the Camino Frances from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela with her very good friend Amy. On her return home inspiration from her pilgrimage led her to write the lyrics for songs on the album. She then collaborated with brother Dan to write the music and complete the album.
Presented in a folk/country style all the tracks on the album are great. Not only are some directly related to Hannah’s Camino but others tell of the duo’s decision to live in different cities far apart. The pain of this parting comes through in a number of tracks. Could this decision be one of the reasons that Hannah walked the Camino? My stand out tracks on the album are “I’m free”, “On That Wave” & “Astorga to Foncebadon”. To me each has either a direct or a subtle reference to walking the Camino. But don’t dismiss “We’ll Meet Halfway”, “Dr Jeckyll And Mr Hyde”, “A Bit At A Time”, “One Step” & “ Up To The Mountain”. All fantastic life reflections adding to the power of this album.
‘I’m Free’ takes you straight back to the Camino – a cold albergue, the morning café con leche, wandering through the many small villages & the mountain climb to O’Cebreiro. With such ease The Acfields have transported me back. Yes, Hannah nails it as she sings “I’ve got nowhere to be – I’m free”. Have you been “On That Wave”? Out there on the Meseta – you know that long long treeless stretch – no villages – then it just happens!! Yes that out of body sensation experienced on this magic track. As Dan sings “I was watching myself from on high” – what a fantastic feeling. Don’t you long to be back there?
“Astorga To Foncebadon” – yes I remember – taken straight there. The beauty of the fortress town of Astorga perched on that hilltop hiding behind the city walls. With the amazing Gaudi architecture of the Bishop’s Palace & the Gothic Astorga Cathedral with its flying buttresses. The slow climb as the beauty of the mountains is slowly revealed. Such a contrast to Astorga when you arrive at the crumbling village of Foncebadon. Nearly at the Cruz de Ferro this track sweeps me back to that amazing time on the Camino.
So as rock and pop guru, Molly Meldrum would say “Do yourself a favour!” & listen to this great album from the multitalented Acfields. I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.