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DAVID HALCROW BAND - Shetland Session

DAVID HALCROW BAND - Shetland Session
Private Label HALCD1701

Although sessions in Shetland (if you are lucky enough to find or be invited to one) in many cases feature fiddle players, nevertheless, accordion players also make their mark and the playing standard is high.

David Halcrow Band’s Shetland Session is a celebration of this genre, particularly influenced by the Scottish dance band tradition, but containing some well-chosen surprises such as Roger Tallroth’s (Vasen) hypnotic Josefin’s Waltz and the thoughtful Wedding March by Knut Erik Jensen (from Hell, Norway – no accordion jokes please). I like it when a band or performers send me off to research and enrich my experience of other sounds and musical ideas. This CD did just that for me.

The dance sets are faultlessly metronomic – good for dancing – and the playing seamless and professional. The band reaches to traditions outwith Shetland, even producing a ‘Palm-Court’ sound to one of the waltzes which reminded me of happy moments years ago in a Yates’ Wine Lodge, where an ancient trio played much the same thing. But the tune becomes suffused with the DH Band’s musical identity.

Shetland Session is in part a celebration and tribute to the life and musical inspiration of Jim Halcrow, David’s father. There is a distinctive ‘Hohner’ sound to the accordions and the fiddle playing is warm and articulate. The musical accompaniments and the engineering are well contrived and controlled, giving a balanced sound to each track. I do hope the band will continue to explore and perform the variety of idioms demonstrated on this disc.

C. John Edwards

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.