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SARAH BAUHAN - Elmwood Station

SARAH BAUHAN - Elmwood Station
Whistler’s Music WM9817

In Bauhan’s sixth solo album, the New Hampshire whistle player and flautist conveys a sense of the full-circled-ness she has experienced in life and music. Her first album in ten years has ten instrumental tracks and three songs, and a full band of friends that come and go on fiddles, mandolin, piano, guitar, bouzouki, bass and vocals.

Bauhan’s whistle and flute playing is clean with a sweet tone. Her phrasing is very rounded and careful, too measured at times, to the detriment of expressive energy, but there is intention in every note.

Diverse repertoire includes original and traditional tunes and songs from Scotland, Ireland, England, Sweden, French Canada and New England. On the Scottish front, Norland Wind (Violet Jacob/Jim Reid) is a highlight with an earthy vocal tone and engaging storytelling from Chloe Green. While the rhythm section is not developed in places to fully support the melodies, there are several moments, not least the combination of whistle and bouzouki, reminiscent of Ossian or early Battlefield Band. And The Beauties Of Autumn (John Brady) is well crafted and smoothly played.

In tracks five and six, the almost identical mid-tempo contributes to a loss of momentum. Overall though, Bauhan’s strong connection to local dance traditions shines through: there is a community feel to this album, which moves from dance hall to kitchen session and back again. Thoughtful arrangements and meticulous attention to detail throughout - no boundary pushing or new creative approaches here – this is earnest, homely music.

Lori Watson

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