Link to Living Tradition Homepage





ODETTE MICHELL - The Wildest Rose 

ODETTE MICHELL - The Wildest Rose 
Private Label OMCD03 

The cynical might unjustly remark: “here’s another record by a young female singer-songwriter gaining instant folk-cred by having folk luminaries Phil Beer and Stu Hanna on her album”. But in truth, Hertfordshire-based Odette (who, I understand, had already released her debut EP, By Way Of Night, last year) is well able to stand on her own merits.

Odette’s work is characterised by a freshness of delivery, and an enviably light and airy touch to her singing, playing and writing that escapes any potentially easy charge of insubstantiality. Having said that, it’s not quite so easy to define the appeal of Odette’s music without appearing unimaginative. It’s clearly accessible, amenable and likeable, often with a strong feel of tradition, especially in Odette’s gift for melodic invention (I’d cite songs like Rolling Shores Of England, I Once Loved A Shepherd and The Banks Of Annalee, all of which fit comfortably alongside the album’s one traditional song, True Lover’s Farewell). In that sense too, I was sometimes reminded of Kate Rusby or Karine Polwart (compliment rather than criticism intended here). Odette’s songs tend to leave behind haunting resonances, for the overall character of her music is soothing rather than outwardly eventful or exciting, and its (perhaps unexpectedly invigorating) gentleness may thus prove deceptive. The above-mentioned Stu Hanna lends both his instrumental expertise and oft-proven production skills to the proceedings, while Toby Shaer contributes fiddle and whistle (three tracks) and Phil Beer fiddle (two). A disc that’s evidently destined to please.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine