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Big Badger Records BBRCD006

Kit and Aaron are best known as the guitarist and fiddler respectively from well-established band, Sheelanagig, and here they’ve forsaken the big-stage to deliver a more intimate take on the traditional music they grew up with, while also cognisant of contemporary folk writing, whose influence they can’t altogether escape in their own songs and tunes. They pair dazzling, proven musicianship with accomplished vocal and harmony work, and clearly have a flair for original composition that covers both instrumental and vocal modes.

The duo’s debut CD is an even-handed affair, sporting three original songs (social commentary Crossfire, tale of a female pugilist The Fighter, and rousing finale All On A Day) and three capable arrangements of traditional songs (Country Blues being the wild-card and perhaps most successful here). The menu’s completed by three instrumental tracks, which though sectional in format are less in the nature of medleys than episodic sequences of mostly original writing which are largely inspired by traditional music and move quite effortlessly between pastoral, folk-baroque and Morris.

There seems to be never a dull moment, with imagination firing throughout and an abundance of creative energy that’s sparked off by, and reflected back into, the duo’s playing. They wear their virtuosity lightly, with an easy, natural stylishness and lively turn of phrase, forever exploring the relationship between the elements of the tried and tested fiddle-guitar-voice combination in interesting and surprising ways. The Fox is a disc to savour, to return to again and often. It’s nicely packaged too.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.