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Oakridge Records JDPL2018CD

The 2017 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award Winners followed up their 2016 EP with a well-crafted set of songs, the recording slotted between their many club and festival appearances - including the customary trip to Fairport’s Cropredy Convention (a standing invite for such award recipients). Standard fare, such as The Night Visiting Song (one of countless variants) with a beautiful vocal interpretation by Josie Duncan, sit comfortably alongside Wince Coles’ By The Glow Of The Kerosene Light and the traditional He Called For A Candle. Another highlight is Alistair Hulett’s He Fades Away, which features the flugelhorn of SSO’s Hedley Benson. Duncan is most comfortable, however, with the Gaelic of her Lewis home, for example on Uamh An Oir, and Thug Mi’n Oidhche from Uist. Throughout, Lafluente’s guitar is fluent and complementary although he doesn’t get an opportunity to let rip as those of us that have seen them live know that he is capable of. Probably the killer track is King Orfeo, a song famously covered by Archie Fisher back in 1970 – here it is handled more than capably.

Notable guest appearances, in addition to the aforementioned Hedley Benson, include Graham Rorie on mandolin and fiddle, Robbie Greig (also on fiddle) and Rufus Huggan on cello; but although the accompaniments add the glue, the heart of the structure is Duncan and Lafluente themselves, who have a bright future ahead on this showing – although at barely 36 minutes long this could be classed as EP Mark 2. That aside, this really is a competent effort, and a prime example of the power of crowdfunding.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.