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Waterbug Records WBG130

One could be forgiven for thinking that Andrew and Casey are a husband and wife team, but in this case we have a father and daughter duo. It is, perhaps, not unusual for a father to accompany his daughter on guitar, but these two musicians have taken it a step further and have been performing together since 2006, creating a sound reminiscent of Burl Ives meets Joni Mitchell. They take it in turns to lead songs, backing each other where appropriate. Sometimes it is really refreshing to strip back to the essentials of the human voice, accompanied by a simple guitar arrangement, excellently delivered. There is a great integrity to this work. Andrew is the rock of reflective experience to which Casey, bird-like, can vocally soar around with her distinctive strident and purposeful singing.

The choice of material has been very carefully selected, ranging from Dylan, trad Irish, Burns, contemporary sources and a smattering of songs composed by Andrew. Once acclimatised to the vocal diversity of the two singers, this is a CD that gradually catches you unawares and doesn’t let you go. Always melodic, Skeins takes you on a journey of transitions on many levels - traditional to modern compositions and observations and developments of the human state of being. Whilst every track has something to offer, for me, Midnight Pirouette by Leslie Smith is a finely crafted, beautiful, poignant song. Gun-Metal Eyes by David Carter is another strong, inherently American song, with a very powerful deceptive tune and elegant chorus. However, the fusion of one to the other and then back again on Shine On Harvest Moon and The Glory Of Love, sung with such empathy by Casey, is a pure triumph, leaving the listener wanting more - seeds of a future CD perhaps?

Skeins is definitely ‘a keeper’, as they say!

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.