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THE HYDES - Green & Blue

THE HYDES - Green & Blue
Private Label HYDECD1

Green & Blue is the debut album from Colorado brother and sister team, Iain and Joanna Hyde. The album is already well-starred and well-spoken of and has acquired positive reaction both in the marketplace and through critical circles. This is rightly so, as it is one of those records that has emerged from almost nowhere and its bounteous qualities are as surprising as they are delightful.

Joanna Hyde had studied at Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and there she encountered Tadhg Maher, piano accordion and keyboard player with Goitse, who appears here along with bodhrán player Colm Phelan. The Hydes themselves are considerable instrumentalists - Iain on guitar and mandolin and Joanna possessing a fine lyrical voice and sweet fiddle style, equally adept at Irish traditional and American Old Timey music. It’s a powerfully rich and sonorous mix that slips between genres easily and without any notable shift in mood and eloquence. The Milky Way set offers a good example of the cultural crisscross The Hydes specialise in; mixing Irish and American styles in a flowing and convincing manner. The opener, Along The Saint Vrain, offers a more obvious American style and sound; its bite recalling Appalachian and Newgrass touches, while Land’s End offers some ferocious flute and fiddle pyrotechnics within a more laid back setting. Vocally, Joanna Hyde excels in a sweet yet gently disarming fashion on the original title track; its haunting refrain guaranteed to stick in the consciousness, while she takes Kate Rusby’s Sweet Bride and refreshes it with melodic nuances, and Boo Hewardine’s Muddy Water sounds like it was written to order for her.

The Hydes imbue their musical diversity with such confidence and glove-like comfort that their cross-pollination sounds natural and fresh at each turn. Green & Blue is one of those deliciously varied and rounded collections that defies its debut stance and establishes an exciting new force in contemporary roots music.

John O’Regan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.