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NICK PYNN - A Fiddle Album 

NICK PYNN - A Fiddle Album 
Oscar Records OSC006 

To play virtually all the instruments on a CD is a mixed blessing. With a full band, you have a variety of sources of inspiration on what a set of tunes should accomplish, but with a solo artist there may be just the one vision. That said, Nick Pynn (from Brighton, UK) rises to the challenge with a CD (his 11th) of some of his favourite fiddle tunes from across Celtic regions and beyond (including Turkey, Bulgaria and Sweden). Some may know him as an ‘avant-folk’ performer or a theatre musician, but this finds him in a more folk-trad vein, playing standard instruments like the fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, mandocello, banjo and oud, rather than some of his other outings with musical saw, bottle bellows, metallophone or traffic-cone berimbau.

The fiddle takes the lead on most tracks. It starts out with a lyrical take on Out On The Ocean, followed by some well-known reels to establish the pedigree. Other standouts are the light, blithesome Waltz From Orsa and the renaissance feel of Bransle No. X / Bransle De Bourgogne. The bounce of bluegrass and old-time music, along with the vigour of more European and Celtic material, generally works well, though some of the faster tunes (like Beeswing / Arthur’s Seat) sound a touch ragged. But all things considered, this is a satisfying mix of popular tunes, well-executed and nicely arranged. And in these days of COVID-19, the solo musician multi-tracking in their home studio may become ever more prevalent.

Ivan Emke


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine