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WetFoot Music Publishing WFM130801

This fifth duo release is another melodious melange of alternating tune sets and songs carefully chosen, adapted and arranged and sensitively presented.

Accompanied here only by Tom Kitching on fiddle, on a tune set rhythmically attuned to the Swedish Bolinder diesel engine of ‘guest’ narrowboat Spey (a charming, catchy and clever conceit!), the album reveals the pair’s harmonious vocalising and wide ranging instrumental prowess in a slightly more intimate setting than last release Gleowien.

Their special distinctiveness derives from adroit interpretation of material, that joint vocal skill and the range and intricacy of their instrumental accompaniment in the empathetic service of the subjects of songs taken here from English (Benjamin Bowmaneer, The Sheffield Apprentice, et al.), Irish (The Private Still) and Australian (Paterson’s The Old Bark Hut) traditions.

Jonny’s accompaniment on guitar (and other stringed things) is ever bright and very exact and Vicki conveys a wide range of tones and moods from her Swedish nyckelharpa and several pipes (Scottish smallpipes, English border pipes, Swedish bagpipes), flute and some double bass.

Juxtaposed pieces by Purcell and Playford show their ability to combine in a graceful, moving and classical way. Elsewhere they offer jollity and lightness and, where appropriate, melancholic moods to suit the tenor, feel and character of the pieces. Humour somehow often feels close to hand and I do like the cover artwork’s Ikea-n instructional guidance on the nyckelharpa showing a danger area for coffee cups and store for chocolate buttons! Another very accomplished palette of finely balanced and beautiful music.

Kevin T Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 99 of The Living Tradition magazine.