Link to Living Tradition Homepage





EDGELARKS - Feather 

EDGELARKS - Feather 
Dragonfly Roots DRCD006 

Hannah Martin and Phillip Henry have been ranging widely from their home base in Devon for several years now, earning themselves, in the process, a burgeoning reputation as one of the best duos on the folk scene. They were duly anointed as such in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2014 and their momentum has shown no signs of slackening. One thing which has gone, though, is a slightly unwieldy name. In future, the performers previously known as Hannah and Phillip will work under the enigmatic banner of Edgelarks.

Apart from that, everything is very much as it should be, with an unimpeachable level of dexterity and musicianship on this, their fifth studio release. She shines on fiddle and banjo; his cupboard contains the less familiar travelling companions of dobro and National steel, as well as the even more secret charms of the beatbox harmonica.

Their “world music from the west country”, as they call it, is heard to its best advantage on a track like Growing, based on a Swedish story about a lost wedding ring. Other sources of inspiration include the rocks of Dartmoor and the High Peak. Don't be mislead, though, by the title track, Feather, which might be taken to indicate something ethereal or whimsical. Nothing could be further from the truth; sophisticated and multi-layered would be closer to the mark and it is the magnificent and utterly distinctive voice of Hannah Martin that keeps the whole thing grounded. She also tops the composers' credits, although perhaps her most outstanding work is on the album's one traditional song, a delectable reading of Spencer The Rover.

Dave Hadfield


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine