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Private Label CARRIVICKCD07

This is great: oldtime music on fiddle and banjo mainly, magnificently played by two young English prodigies. Charlotte Carrivick seems to have been on the scene for ever, along with her sister Laura, but still doesn't look old enough to be allowed into the kind of venues that book this duo. Kieran is more enigmatic, a mean fiddling mountain man complete with lumberjack shirt and Rip van Winkle stubble, and despite his championship wins he's still a young whippersnapper. Together, Carrivick and Towers produce an amazingly rich sound, alternating the deep resonances of Appalachian music with the flourishes of Nashville bluegrass. There's a bit of extra firepower on one or two tracks, and some fine guitar and mandolin too from Ms Carrivick, adding spice to a very tasty album indeed.

Most of Wolves A’ Howlin' is traditional, backwoods classics from Best Timber to Tennessee Mountain Fox Chase. Growling fiddle and tinkling banjo combine to evoke the wild and wintry wilderness or the small town dances of America's oldtime heartland. Rockingham Cindy is almost a fiddle song, resembling Sail Away Ladies or a cheery version of Tom DooleySally Coming Through The Rye is quite different, stark and mournful, darkly beautiful. In-between is a veritable pot-luck banquet: the toe-tapping Towers composition I Wash Myself With A Rag On A Stick, the flash fiddling and mandolin magic of Poplar Bluff, the lilting charm of Muddy Creek and the unapologetic weirdness of the Carrivick-Towers collaboration, New Carpet. Other highlights include the best rendition of Polly Put The Kettle On that I've heard in a long time, the wonderful fiddle sticks on Biddy, and Kieran's tune, I Thought You Were A Goat #3 which will still get you acquitted in most states of the Union. On the other hand, the final track with its thinly-disguised yodelling is unquestionably a hanging offence, so make sure you catch up with Towers & Carrivick before the law does! 

Alex Monaghan

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