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Private Label DHSF003 

Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club, February 2020. Two proud young Fifers, David Hershaw and Sandie Forbes, celebrate 10 years of playing together and look to the future. Then it’s coronavirus, and we must thole it. But, a year on, this acoustic roots duo has released a second album, Setting Forth. A pun in the title, I think. The sense of place isn’t as strong as I hoped from the liner notes and PR, but there’s a wealth of coastline imagery. David is already an experienced singer songwriter and finger-picking guitarist. Sandie is a graduate of the Plockton trad music course whose violin and viola have graced many combinations. Erik Knussen lends his skills on double bass and cello.

For me, the first few country-infused songs are a bit rocky, with some commonplace sentiments and images. The middle section is much stronger. Little Bag Of Bones is a successful failed relationship song with lovely accompaniment. In The Deil’s Deid, written by William Hershaw, we learn that the devil may be buried in Kirkcaldy. The Creation Reel flows like a beautiful river.

Ecology and the iniquities of capitalism are explored. Perhaps the best realised of these songs is Stone On The Cairn. There’s a lack of specifics again, but I think David is lamenting the area being “ripped and torn” by mining. He senses the ghostly presence of the workers, and adds his song to theirs.

There is much to enjoy on this album. I hope David and Sandie can get on the road with it soon.

Tony Hendry


This review appeared in Issue 138 of The Living Tradition magazine