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THE MILE ROSES - Blue Skies 

THE MILE ROSES - Blue Skies 
Tantobie Records TTRCD119 

The Mile Roses emerged in 2017, teaming three established singer-songwriters - Kate Bramley and Simon Haworth (from Jez Lowe’s Bad Pennies) and Edwina Hayes. Their debut album displayed their interest in the cross-pollination of British folk songwriting and Americana, and its follow-up, Blue Skies, an even more persuasive collection, also incidentally brings a line-up change, with Tain-born fiddler and (excellent) singer Kari Macleod replacing Edwina.

Blue Skies delivers an eclectic programme of stylish original material – five of Simon’s compositions, two by Kari, two by Kate (one of these, the evocative Shores Of Fife, co-written with Jez), and four by Simon and Kate jointly including one with Edwina (the refugee-themed A Million At Sea). Vocal duties are democratically shared, and the result is a stimulating and well varied set.

Musical idioms range from the breezy bluegrass of Land Of The Brave And Free to the delicious waltzery of Hold On and Water For Whisky, the spooked back-porch gothic of Reign Of Fear and the sprightly Nashville country of One Day Love. The listener-friendly nature of the trio’s music doesn’t preclude the discussion of serious topics however, and it says much for the skill of the writers that such issues are handled sensitively yet with a lightness of touch. For instance, there’s an infectious bounce to the title song, which delicately voices regret for divided communities, while Girl In Forget-Me-Not Blue employs an upbeat celtic-folk mode. Instrumentally too, there’s plenty going on – Kate, Kari and Simon’s fiddles, mandolin, cittern and guitars are selectively augmented by Andy May, John Lambeth and album producer David De La Haye.

Blue Skies justifies its “highly anticipated” tag – no question.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine