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Folk Room Records FRR1902 

Every now and then something good this way comes! Echo is sublime, intelligent, totally compelling and one of the best CDs I have heard in a long while. Ben Walker is a superb guitarist, but his talents are even more far reaching. This is his first solo CD, although he released an EP in 2018 entitled The Fox On The Downs, as a duo with Josienne Clarke he has a further six albums under his belt and, as a producer, over fifty.

Echo is a melodious study that reflects and reworks material from past times. The themes explored may be centuries old, but they can still strike a chord with us today: Fear and hope, loss of innocence, pride and shame, the cycle of life and even elements of the supernatural. To achieve his aim, lost gems were rediscovered from the archives of Cecil Sharp House, including additional material by Blake, Belloc, Mary Coleridge.

To tease out the maximum possibilities inherent within the material, every track on the CD has been meticulously analysed, honed and produced. The overall sound is held together by Ben’s imaginative and skilful guitar, but the musical talents of many artists have been employed: violin, cello, double bass, flute and oboe. Apart from the instrumental tracks, each song has been allocated to singers who have been carefully chosen for their own particular vocal strengths, i.e. innocence, reflection, interpretation etc. It is virtually impossible to single out any one track but How Stands The Glass, sung by JinnWoo, is particularly captivating. Let Me In At The Door sung by Hazel Askew is both beautiful and chilling. On Humber Bank is brilliantly realised by Laura Ward and a warning to us all.

Simply put, Echo is dazzling from start to finish, a fantastic piece of work!

John Oke Bartlett


This review appeared in Issue 130 of The Living Tradition magazine