When the band Equation stumbled to semi-retirement in 2001, Seth Lakeman appeared to be the bandmember least equipped to find solo success. His brothers Sam and Sean teamed up in successful duos with their partners and fellow bandmembers Cara Dillon and Kathryn Roberts, but few imagined the band's frenzied fiddle player/guitarist would swiftly transform himself into not only one of the hottest talents on the British folk scene, but achieve fame and success well beyond the genre's parameters. Post-Equation, he played support fiddle behind his sister-in-law Cara Dillon, but back home in the beautiful, dramatic surroundings of Dartmoor in the southwest of England, he was inspired to write songs about the myriad legends and folklore endemic to the mystical countryside in which he was raised. His sole motivation for releasing his first solo album, The Punch Bowl (recorded in brother Sean's kitchen with other members of Equation and released on his own iScream label in 2002), was to stir up enough interest to get a few folk club gigs. The album sank without a trace. He didn't have the credibility or a striking enough voice to be taken seriously performing traditional material, and his own songs seemed scarcely original enough to garner attention beyond Equation followers.