SOME artists jet off to the United States to record the perfect album.

Others hide away in secluded studios in rural locations so they can work on songs free from distractions. But Seth Lakeman and acclaimed producer Ethan Johns had other ideas.

The pair transformed a Jacobean Manor House into a studio to create the unique atmosphere for Seth’s latest record, Ballads of the Broken Few. They spent three weeks recording the album at Mudford Manor in Somerset.

Seth said: “We put together a location studio in the great hall – a wooded panel room with a stone floor. That was the perfect acoustics for what we were looking for. It was the perfect environment to record these songs with the fire flickering away.

“We wanted to conjure a certain atmosphere on this record. You can kind of hear that. There’s a ghostly feeling to the whole sound of it.”

It was not just the unusual setting which sent a shiver up Seth’s spine. The 39-year-old also felt incredibly fortunate to be in the company of Ethan Johns.

His CV includes working with the likes of Kings of Leon, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Laura Marling and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Ethan agreed to produce the album after Seth sent him one roughly recorded song, The Stranger, on his iPhone.

Seth added: “He’s a legendary producer and the way he left things stripped back, raw and stark in the studio seemed to give the sound more power in its simplicity. As soon as you step into that sort of situation you don’t know how you will get on.

“But I have to say we had very similar outlooks on music. He’s very much about capturing the moment and that’s something I like to do as well rather than tinkering for ages on records. I love his records. He seems to get the best out of a lot of artists.”

Seth has been a solo artist for 15 years now but his latest album has also seen him return to his roots in a way. The BBC Folk Award winner has been working with the girl trio Wildwood Kin since he met them at a recent charity concert and they sing on Ballads of the Broken Few.

Seth said they remind him of his youth working alongside his brothers Sam and Sean Lakeman.

He said: “They’re new to the scene down in Devon. They’re a family and I’ve worked with my family so I could see the connection they have – the intuitive harmonies and the way they worked together. That’s definitely something I’ve had with my brothers.”

Seth was the youngest of the Lakeman family and was immersed in music from a very early age. His parents Geoff and Joy taught him the ropes in the family band before he formed a trio with his brothers.

He then became part of the folk ‘super group’ Equation with Kathryn Roberts and Kate Rusby.

Seth added: “I was playing very early on. I was still in school but I was making money from it when I was 14 or 15. It just felt pretty normal. Music was all around us and was happening every day.

“It’s part of who we were and how we were brought up. It was all I was thinking about and focusing on.”

When he was not at school Seth would work on new material for his folk club slot on Sundays and be busy all summer at festivals.

But what it was like being the youngest of three brothers?

Seth said: “It was tough because you’re always the last one and you’re getting it in the neck from everyone else. There was always a sense of competition as three boys in the music industry.

“We were all playing different instruments which helped but we were definitely driving each other forwards.”

Seth quickly made a name for himself, particularly in Equation but he always had the itch to go solo.

He added: “I guess it’s just a natural thing. You’ve got your own path and your own songs that you start to write so you feel like you want to make your own record doing it like that. So I did. The first one didn’t do an awful lot but it threw me into a format of being a singer, a frontman and a leader.

He reckons being in ensembles before going solo has also given him more perspective.

Seth said: “I spent half my career working behind other musicians and the other half being a leader so I do sort of see music from the other side. A lot of artists I talk to who are at the front do not necessarily see it from the perspective of the band musicians or the session musicians.”

After more than two decades of collaborations, albums, awards, tours and festivals, Seth said he still loves what he does.

He added: “I’ve travelled a lot with music and it’s been quite an adventure so far. I love that I’ve been able to play at the edge of Lake Malawi, at a 2000-year-old amphitheatre in Leptis Magna in Libya and at Red Rocks in Colorado.

“I’ve also recently done a session with Robert Plant. That was pretty cool. There’s all these things that you feel privileged to be able to do.”

But Seth also admitted it is harder these days after becoming a father to three-year-old twins, Lowen and Morley.

He said: “It’s much harder. It’s a lot more wrenching when you’re away for a week or more.

“But thankfully I’m at the point in my career where I have more control.

“Ten years ago I didn’t have that much control. I was literally on the road the whole time. But you’ve got to do that in those early stages to work out where you can sell your music and who’s into it. You’ve got to build up a fan base.”

Seth Lakeman will perform with Wildwood Kin at the Parr Hall on Saturday, March 11. Visit