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"Heartlands" consists of music from the eponymous motion picture which opened in early May. My spies tell me that the reviews were not as unanimous in its praise as the press release would have us believe, but the plot synopsis points to a road movie with a strong English accent, and tells us that Kate and John appear (I suspect briefly) "as themselves". I'm keeping an open mind, which I find is the best course when discussing a film I haven't actually seen. However, if it's only a fraction as good as its wonderful soundtrack, you can popcorn me up and stick me on the front row right now.

The music falls into two groups. Group one contains previously unrecorded instrumental music composed by John McCusker called Beer Garden, "Leafy moped" and the like, presumably designed to fill in the bits of the film where nobody is talking. Group two consists of eight previously released songs by Kate (Wild Goose, Sleepless Sailor and the like), and if anyone talks over them then a major cinematic crime has been committed. Vocally and instrumentally the result is sublime (apart from a couple of pieces that are meant to be funny.) and there are plenty of top-notch contributions from the instrumental cream of the nation - Ian Carr, Andy Cutting and Michael McGoldrick to name but three.

Although she sells ten times more CDs than any other folk artist (and a hundred times more than most), she reached a point ten years and three near-perfect albums into her career where she needed a Project. Then lo and behold, out of the East Midlands riding on a moped came "Heartlands". It could only happen in the movies.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 53 of The Living Tradition magazine.