Link to Living Tradition Homepage





JOSHUA BURNELL - The Road To Horn Fair 

JOSHUA BURNELL - The Road To Horn Fair 
Misted Valley Records MVR18E 

Joshua Burnell is a pleasant-voiced young chap with a penchant for retro folk-rock, nodding towards prog rock at times; in short, this is about as far away from “one for the purists” as you can get. You’ll need to look elsewhere for a cutting-edge re-imagining of folk-rock, but I admit The Road To Horn Fair elicited a broad grin from this reviewer - although a raised eyebrow or tongue in cheek might have been equally appropriate.

You can, of course, never judge a book by its cover, but…is there plentiful use of Gothic script? Check. Is there a fold-out sleeve with a picture of a castle? Most certainly. Is there a photo of the band in historical costume, one musician appearing dressed as a monk? I’m surprised you need to ask.

With some Early Music included, and Jon Boden’s Horn Fair on board, the recording is not devoid of interesting repertoire. Also, the further the musicians drift from a ‘Deep Purple play Steeleye Span’ template, the more attractive the content becomes – and the better Joshua’s voice comes across. Thus, I suspect there is a case for Mr. Burnell to tone down the rock element, entertaining though it might be, and spotlight his subtler side more. In any case, The Road To Horn Fair should please listeners sympathetic to its retro and rock-orientated concept.

Paul Mansfield


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine