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SIMON MAYOR - Music From A Small Island

SIMON MAYOR - Music From A Small Island
Acoustic Records CDACS 055

King of the mandolin family of instruments, Simon Mayor has been a while in bringing out a new solo CD, but this shows that the wait was certainly worthwhile.  Partnered, as ever, by Hilary James on vocals, double bass, bass guitar and mandobass, Simon tackles mandolin, mandola, mandocello, violin, guitar and vocals – and there’s a guest appearance by Frank Kilkelly on guitar for good measure.

Adapting the album’s title from the Bill Bryson classic book, Simon sets out on a musical journey, which incorporates southern England, the Wharfedale region and Scotland.  Irrespective of the inspirations behind the tunes and songs, Simon has developed his own glissando approach to mandolining, which is at the same time very personally distinctive, yet also indicative of an English style, which is not afraid to venture well up into the story end of the fretboard, getting the maximum benefit of the higher register of the instrument.

In addition to this acknowledged expertise in mandolinship, we have an opportunity to hear his fine fiddle and guitar work featured more prominently on the Scottish collection.  The tunes are grouped geographically, thus giving a further cohesiveness to the whole ensemble.  For an exemplar of tightness, precision and musicality, this is hard to beat, but it also perfectly portrays the passion that Simon brings to the promotion of all things mandolinish.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 72 of The Living Tradition magazine.