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Rooksmere Records RRCD102

ILet’s start with a confession. No, not the sort that will get into the tabloids as I have had a much too uninteresting life. No, a musical confession. There are two instruments that usually leave me absolutely cold. What are they I hear you say? The banjo and the harmonica. So why confess now I also hear you say?

Dan Walsh plays clawhammer style banjo. Will Pound plays harmonica.

So I thought as I started to listen to their CD Walsh & Pound that this was my worst nightmare. Then I was reminded that I had seen Dan at the National Forest festival last year and been impressed by his uniqueness of style and his amazing ability. Remembering that Will  had also been seen in a couple of young bands and did things with his harmonica that don’t seem possible, including never stopping to breathe, this might not be too onerous a task.

There’s a wide variety of musical genres on show here, with Scottish, Irish and English folk music alongside blues, bluegrass and surprising mid-eastern sounds, many of them fusing together successfully. What comes across is just how good these two are and how musically each supports and enhances the sound of the other’s instrument. And it is not just tunes, with Dan singing on a number of tracks.

Guitar is provided by Martin Simpson - I have heard that Will is going to tour in his band. Christi Andropolis lends some lovely backing vocals, whilst Bernhard, with the longest surname I have ever seen, plays a variety of what I think are drums.

All in all a good listen and I can’t wait to see them live, which shouldn’t be too long as they have quite a few festivals lined up and a tour later in the Summer.

Am I now a convert to these two instruments? In the hands of Dan Walsh and Will Pound a definite YES......  If only all banjo players were as good......

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.