Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Private Label TCR001 

When I see labels such as neo-folk, tec-folk and the like I tend to dismiss them. Having seen Anita O’Day albums filed under ‘Easy Listening’ in record shops I take all straplines with cellarfuls of salt and just rely on my ears. You should adopt such a mindset too when confronted by this masterful recording by accordionist Murray Grainger and fiddle player Adam Summerhayes whose repertory has had such tags attached.

COVID-19 dictated that they connect remotely, their contributions achieved via landlines, mics and various cables from Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire respectively – in effect making records in space, but hey it wasn’t that simple! Simple? Well I won’t go into specifics but suffice to say that to this layperson the technology was pretty phenomenal. Not only that but the two were videoed and the whole broadcast on Facebook and YouTube earlier in our lockdown year – this unique release is a selection from those sessions.

Here are a dozen beautiful lilting tunes, a third of them ‘trad.arr’, and with no vocals. The music builds and decays, sometimes floating like thistledown, at others more spirited, though the overall mood in these elegant and fluent melodies is haunting and reflective.

Life toddles on in these weird times and the knowledge of more to come once Murray and Adam are freed up to connect live on stage when this exceptional era is past, is heartening. For now, we have this affecting music to cheer this most dismal of autumns.

John Irving’s novel The Ciderhouse Rules details how societal dictates and morals must sometimes be broken to achieve the right effect. In this instance the insurgency is fully justified.

Clive Pownceby


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine