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THE SHACKLETON TRIO - Fen, Farm & Deadly Water 

THE SHACKLETON TRIO - Fen, Farm & Deadly Water 
Private Label 

An intriguing album, this, juxtaposing Georgia Shackleton’s decidedly English vocals – she also plays fiddle – and the distinctly country-influenced guitar and mandolin of Aaren Bennett and Nic Zuppardi.

The other distinctive feature of the group is the East Anglia-themed material – you might have guessed this from the album’s title. Most of the songs have East Anglian content, including the clever pairing of a song based on historical opposition to the draining of the fens with one emphasising the vulnerability to the sea of the reclaimed land. Georgia Shackleton adds a fine song about the decline of the traditional English seaside town. In contrast to these themed items, there is one more obviously country song (Old Blue); four diverse instrumentals also feature.

I’m no expert on the science of track sequencing, but in this case the songs that engaged me the most were all in the second half of the album – too wordy or too serious to be opening tracks perhaps.

The trio has been booked by ‘broad appeal’ folk festivals such as Cambridge and Southwell, and is not short of folk club dates, suggesting that the band is a very credible proposition live. The fact that there are no additional musicians on the recording might be taken as further evidence of the group’s competence and confidence. There are plentiful audio and video samples on the band’s website.

Paul Mansfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.