Folk singer, who grew up in Northamptonshire, releases music inspired by the county

'Lew Bear', 41, who has lived in this county for his entire life, describes his new extended play as "a celebration and a memorial of our county"

A 41-year-old folk singer, who has lived in Northamptonshire all his life, is releasing music inspired by his home county.

Lewis Robinson, who goes by the stage name 'Lew Bear', is releasing his extended play 'Rose Of The Shires' on February 25 and it will consist of six songs inspired by the county he grew up in.

Lewis said: "This EP brings together songs I've written from all of my songwriting life, beginning to end, that were inspired by our fabulous county.

Folk singer, Lew Bear (Lewis Robinson). Photo by Mark O'Connor.

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    "It's something I've been planning to do for more than six years now, but I kept delaying it in the hope more songs would come and I could turn it into a full album, but finally decided I needed to release it now. "

    This EP will be Lew Bear's eighth solo release after he launched his musical career as a percussionist at the age of 17 when he played in a band with a group of his close friends. They recorded several albums under the name 'Test Meet' and got into the top five selling local albums in 1999 when Virgin Megastore were selling local unsigned artists' music.

    Fast forward to the summer of 2008, an acoustic guitar was left at Lewis' house by an artist he was helping to run the Spratton Folk Festival. He picked it up and began to play. Just two months later, Lewis made his guitar debut at the Spratton Folk Fringe open mic with his first original song called 'Mad Ole Girl'.

    He, most recently, played for a celtic folk band called 'Cross The Border' before moving to Daventry with his wife.

    Lew Bear is releasing an EP inspired by Northamptonshire, where he has lived his entire life. Photo by Mark O'Connor.

    He wrote his track, 'Rose Of The Shires' for a BBC Radio Northampton competition to find the 'anthem of Northamptonshire', which celebrated the county. Lewis, unfortunately, did not finish writing the song in time to enter the contest.

    Talking about the song, Lewis said: "To me, it's a simple and uplifting song that speaks for itself in celebrating the beauty and homeliness of Northamptonshire.

    "This is what Northamptonshire is for me - beautiful countryside, the beating heart of our country and, most importantly, it's home."

    Other songs in the extended play include 'The Rothersthorpe Bullet' - a humorous tale about the homeguard of Rotherthorpe told to him by a resident and friend called Stephen J Jennings, who has since sadly passed - 'Merry Tom' - a song about "Red" Earl John Spencer's horse called Merry Tom, who met his end in an attempted jump over a tributary of the River Nene - and 'Izzy' - a song about a deathbed confession made by Lewis' great great grandmother.

    Lewis continued: "The EP is both a celebration and a memorial of our county.

    "The story songs are all tales told to me by friends and family and I've put them into song because - not only was I moved by the stories - but felt that this sort of 'small' tale is what really tells the history of a place and not the grander, bigger pieces of history, and I didn't want them to be forgotten.

    "Even if I can only keep them alive for one more generation, I've done my bit."

    The folk singer grew up in Spratton, where he says his mother's side of the family has lived for many generations.

    Lewis said: "I was related to half of the village, which was good in some ways, but awkward when it came to dating.

    "My granddad taught me all about the countryside, like what mushrooms and berries were edible and how to pluck and gut pheasants and I spent many early mornings walking the fields around Spratton with him learning all this and becoming attached to the countryside. I might be the last of my kind thanks to that early learning."

    Lew Bear's EP, 'Rose Of The Shires' will be released online on Friday, February 25 and can, meanwhile, be pre-ordered for £5.

    To find out more about Lew Bear or pre-order 'Rose Of The Shires' visit https://lewbear.bandcamp.com/