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White Fall Records WFRCD007

The fifth studio album from this artiste showcases her talent as an interpreter of contemporary and traditional song alike. With a house band comprising her multi-instrumentalist husband, Jamie McClennan, along with Matheu Watson, Ross Hamilton and Signy Jakobsdottir, she is more than comfortably supported and revered guests including Jerry Douglas, Aoife O’Donovan and Kris Drever, among others, ensure that there is never a dull moment here. Having unbelievably just celebrated ten years as a full time folk musician, she has demonstrated here that she has really come of age and justifies her inclusion in the Transatlantic Sessions and multiple award nominations.

Some familiar songs sit comfortably alongside the more obscure source material. Twa Sisters, which some may recognise as The Cruel Sister or The Miller And The King’s Daughter, is an absolute triumph and her version of Archie Fisher’s The Final Trawl is now on repeat in my player. The opener, Reres Hill, can be compared favourably with Mary Black’s classic version. A sensitive airing of Bill Caddick’s classic John O’Dreams is a nice touch and rounds the album off nicely. If I had to choose a top pick, it would be Clerk Saunders, which even gives June Tabor’s 1972 version a run for its money (and I never thought I’d ever hear myself saying that…). Mind you, King Orfeo (a quaint mixture of Greek mythology and Celtic folk tale) is another cracker. I reckon that you can probably see that I love this album to bits. My favourite CD of the year.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 100 of The Living Tradition magazine.