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Rootbeat Records RBRCD26

Following their eponymous debut in 2011, this release by trio Tom Moore (violin), Archie Churchill-Moss (melodeon) and Jack Rutter (guitar, banjo, dobro), is another adventurously spirited and delightfully executed melange of traditional and contemporary music, again displaying their assuredly skilled ensemble sophistication in a series of widely sourced tune sets and songs.

Musically, in addition to their own original tunes, there are interpreted arrangements of pieces from Playford’s English Dancing Master MSS, a hornpipe from Henry Purcell, Québécois melodeon player Rejean Lizott’s waltz Valse Sainte-Louise (juxtaposed with Rob Harbron’s Tomcat), Chris Wood’s Mrs. Foster’s Fudge, and English bagpiper Andy Letcher’s Hanter Dro (Breton dance) piece The Kings’ Barrows. The three songs comprise traditional English (The Reedcutter’s Daughter) and American content (Wait For The Waggon, collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams), and John Tams’ Warhorse piece The Year Turns Round Again.

Although sound enough, their vocal tracks fall slightly short of the refinement and allure of their intense and intricate instrumental brilliance. Enormously varied in their dynamic, rhythmic and melodic interplay, through individual skill and adroit ensemble arrangements, instrumentally (with ease) they can morph from echoic English Village Green dance or sedately and stately classical grace and shimmering stringed elegance to infectiously propulsive groove and/or intricately patterned mesmeric soundscapes with subtle touches of discrete discordance in between! Witty and tricksy, deeply detailed, shrewdly spaced and sensitively paced, this is cleverly composed and entirely compelling music. Again empathetically engineered by Andy Bell in Sheffield, this is a stunning successor to their remarkable debut release.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 110 of The Living Tradition magazine.