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Private Label RS01 

Robbie Sherratt’s debut album is a tour de force in all aspects. Already in his brief, professional career, he has packed in many high-profile credits, making him a name to watch out for in the future. Robbie began learning the intricacies of fiddle playing at a very young age, being helped along the way by, amongst others, the “late, great Sean Heeley” before going on to study at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki and the Folk and Traditional Music degree course at Newcastle University. The 11 tracks on the album, as one would expect, feature the inventive and innovative light touch of Robbie’s fiddle playing. However, whilst at the forefront of the music, he is ably supported by a range of additional musical instruments. In the line-up there are the usual guitar and concertina contributions, but perhaps more unusual are the additional sounds of the vibraphone, oboe, cello and bassoon; the latter three providing a gravitas and grounding to the music, whilst the lively fiddle playing dances around the partial sombre backdrop like a musical summer Mayfly.

Nearly all the tracks are instrumental, a rendition of the Old Wooden Plough being one of the exceptions. The album comes with an extremely comprehensive booklet - no expense spared - which admirably helps illustrate the comprehensive scope of the music. There are many fine examples of jigs and hornpipes drawn from a variety of sources including the Jerningham Staffords’ family manuscripts and the Cecil Sharp and Vaughan Williams collections. Hole In The Ceiling is a playful composition by Robbie based upon the regular ingress of a dripping ceiling. Jack Lattin is a joyful dance tune, played at a rate that makes you puff just thinking about dancing to it, but no less enjoyable for all that!

Provenance is a serious work and a sheer delight.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.