Willowbank Music

Michael Lawrence


People lived here once. Raised families. Worked the land.

Knew joy and sorrow. No more. Not now. There's nothing now. No people. No joy or sorrow. Just ruins. And memories. Alternative memories.

To read about the album

and the book, scroll down.

This Ruined Place is an 'adult' version of a previously published YA novel called Juby's Rook. Here, Michigan-born Evy Cobb, 37, returns to the ruined English village of Rouklye (pronounced Rooklee) twenty-one years after her last visit in 1999. She had a different name back then - Midge Miller - she was sixteen and resentful of being left with her grandparents in Dorset while her peacenik parents were off trying to scupper a weapons test in the South Pacific. It was then, 'in the last year of the old century' that she met the elderly Juby Bench, who'd lived in Rouklye until 1943, when he was evicted, along with everyone else, by a War Office that required the land for troop training and weapons testing. The village, badly treated by the occupiers and never handed back to its former inhabitants, was allowed to fall into the haunted state that it remains to this day. The book tells the story of Juby's return to this ruined place, and of his brief friendship with young Midge, a friendship which, by its conclusion, immeasurably changed her perception of the world and her place in it.

The music on the album reflects or is inspired by elements of the story. To get the most out of it the listener should read the book. This Ruined Place is available as a Kindle ebook. See HERE UK or HERE U.S.

I would like to make it clear that Rouklye and its surrounds are based on the similarly neglected and despoiled village of Tyneham and the Tyneham Valley in South Dorset. Also that the surname 'Miller' belonged to many of early 20th century Tyneham's residents, who were treated appallingly by both the Conservative and Labour governments of the 1940s.

1. The Unchronicled Centuries

2. Notice to Quit

3. The Last December

4. Crowbarrow Farewell

5. Occupation

6. The Years Laid Waste

7. Conflicting Memories of Youth

8. The Search for Juby Bench

9. The Wasted Valley

Email me: wordybug@me.com