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NINEBARROW - Releasing The Leaves

NINEBARROW - Releasing The Leaves
Private Label

The second album from duo Jon Whitley (ukulele, tenor/octave mandola, reed organ, piano, vocals) and Jay LaBouchardiere (vocals, reed organ) is a highly assured achievement on all levels and is certain to further enhance their national profile.

The five original songs, five arrangements of traditional material and piece by inspirational support Bob Whitley (Jon’s dad) are primarily either drawn directly from, or to some degree deliberately associated with, the folklore and iconic places of their beloved Dorset, correlations reinforced by an impressive series of lyric linked photographic images in a sumptuous 32 page songbook and the distinctively expressive modern artwork of Sarah Whitley.

Emphatically focused on the vocal communication of their selected songs, again richly deploying their exquisitely symbiotic harmonising skills, instrumental support is carefully orchestrated for scene setting and dynamic detail, so as gently to enrich the listener’s emotional engagement in the stories, with subtly supportive guest accompanists adding some cello, double bass and (discreet) drums.

Pleasingly poetic original songs recognising the power and wisdom held in the stones of a Neolitihic long barrow on the South Dorset Ridgeway and musings on the “secret never to be told”, involving shape-shifting in a murder of corvine creatures (Blood On The Hillside), typify both an ardent topophilia and mythopoeic spirit and sensibilities. Traditional songs tell of relationships severed and tested by nautical voyaging, floral love garlands and jolly ale indulgence, comfortably balancing joy and sadness, and there’s a duly dark rendition of Three Ravens from Child Ballad 26.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 113 of The Living Tradition magazine.