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Hands On Music  HMCD35

An unusual pairing of instruments, the double bass of Miranda Sykes and the mandolin of Rex Preston, go to make this an interesting album. Whilst Miranda is well-known as the bass player with Show Of Hands, Rex may be an unfamiliar name to readers. A bit of research however showed him to be part of the Celtic bluegrass band The Scoville Aces.
Miranda, one of the rare breed of female bass players, was a member of the cult band Pressgang and the list of who she has worked with is endless. Meeting when she played on a Scoville’s gig in 2009, this CD sounds as if they have worked together for years, and the material just flows, mixing songs from the likes of Kate Rusby and Karine Polwart, with that of American Peter Bradley Adams (two great songs) and Slaid Cleaves.
It goes without saying that both are excellent musicians, but their vocals also show a depth of feeling. Rex is at his best on the traditional A Kiss In The Morning Early, whilstthe most startling song, due to Miranda’s beautiful, wispish vocals, is Imogen Heap’s Between The Sheets, which had me reaching for the repeat button. Joe Rusby has done an excellent job in ensuring the clarity of vocals and instruments throughout this CD.

They are touring this CD and have festival appearances booked so Miranda and Rex’s eponymously titled recording should sell well.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.