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THE KATHRYN TICKELL BAND - Air Dancing Park Records - PRKCD72

It's been a shock to realise that this is Kathryn's eleventh album - she's always been a busy beaver I know, but fact that she's been quite so prolific has crept up on me unawares. If you like her jazzy interpretation of Northumbrian tunes you will love this album, although it's been so eagerly awaited that many of you will have it anyway, so I'll preach to the unconverted. Kathryn is a virtuoso piper and compliments this with soulful fiddle playing to die for. She's gathered a young support troupe around her that sound like they'll be a tight touring unit, and I prefer the more traditional approach to the rhythm section. I've thought in the past that in previous incarnations of the band the electric bass was rather intrusive - none of that here. Although a master at interpretation of 'trad', three quarters of the tracks are self-penned or attributed (I hasten to say contemporary as Neil Gow is dipped into). Of course if you're a words person forget it - this is an extravaganza of tunes - of myriad styles and tempos, and wonderfully produced by Kathyrn herself. Highlights for me include Ian Hardie's Falls of Altnarie, a waltz called Wedding Gift and a stunning performance of Elsie Marley - but really it all runs on rails. Now where's the gig list - I must catch them live (I'm overdue a KT fix).

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 59 of The Living Tradition magazine.