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MARTIN MATTHEWS - Wall To Wall: Lindisfarne To Walltown

MARTIN MATTHEWS - Wall To Wall: Lindisfarne To Walltown
Cúig Musi CUICD013

This collection of mostly instrumental, chiefly Northumbrian in origin, selections has been gathered together to accompany a series of art exhibitions, also by Martin Matthews. The extensive sleeve notes not only describe the background to the paintings but also illustrate the said works of art – and they are indeed impressive (check out his website – this guy oozes talent).

As for the music, it is a delight from start to finish. Matthews himself plays six instruments more than competently, and is supported admirably by Sean Taylor on basses, guitar, bodhran and keyboards. There are also significant contributions from a number of other musicians – notably Paul Martin on pipes, and Roddy Matthews and Paul Archer on fiddles. The tunes are mostly self-penned but have a distinctly Northumbrian feel, with a liberal sprinkling of Irish and Scottish themes. Particular favourite medleys for me are Big Skye Set and Lindisfarne – After the Fall, both sets of reels. The waltz Salters Gate is lovely and struck a chord with me as I used to sail on a ship of the same name (that Saltersgate was named after a street in Whitby – this one is derived from a section of the Durham hills that the A68 cuts through).

The entire project has been carefully thought out such that the tunes perfectly complement the artworks that they are intended to showcase, and are lovingly co-produced by Matthews himself and the said Sean Taylor. This is 60 minutes of musical embrocation that I heartily recommend. Wow, this is panning out to be a really good year for folk music if this first taste is owt to go by.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 107 of The Living Tradition magazine.