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		- A Merry Convoy 

SI BARRON - A Merry Convoy 
Private Label 

There have been few benefits of COVID-19, but before April, I had never heard of this amazing Devonshire singer/guitarist. However, thanks to the Covideo Folk Club on Facebook, I now can’t get enough of Si Barron’s music.

A Merry Convoy is the third in his current series of CDs containing traditional songs and ballads (preceded by Sweet Billy Caution and Of A Myrtle Shade). What sets Si’s presentation of traditional songs apart from so many others - for me anyway - is the way each storyline grips me immediately. His enunciation of the lyrics is crystal-clear - which helps - but his presentation also manages to evoke unexpectedly empathetic reactions without him ever resorting to melodrama. Tears rose for me during three numbers: Two Bright Eyes, Lowlands Of Holland and The Greenmore Hare. Another song, Cruel Mother, actually got my back hairs to rise. This is the most chilling version of that ballad I’ve ever heard. I ‘get’ other versions, of course. But this one I actually ‘felt’. Brrrrr…

A Merry Convoy is certainly not a downer album, however! Other songs can be lighthearted or comically rueful, and several - The Barleystraw, Willy’s Lyke Wake and The Swapping Song - contain chuckle-worthy moments. Si runs the emotional gamut of tale-telling via traditional songs without ever jarring the listener. He also has the knack of never overrunning the time it takes to tell each story, and never over-embellishing them.

It’s impossible to review a Si Barron CD without mentioning his extraordinary flowing guitar work, which binds all these tracks together for a smooth listening experience. He recorded all tracks himself (to an extremely high standard) while singing and playing ‘live’, without laying down vocal and instrumental tracks separately. So, what you hear is more or less what you would get at a club or concert. With any luck, once this pandemic is over.…

Jan Foley


This review appeared in Issue 137 of The Living Tradition magazine