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Sarah Matthews - As I Was Walking (Coth Records)

Star rating: 

Sarah Matthews first came to my attention a number of years ago when the multi-instrumentalist and singer played in a band called Cross o'th Hands. It was my job to introduce the band at the folk club I was helping to run in Doncaster and I needed a little help with the Derbyshire pronunciation. Since then, Sarah has been involved in countless projects, not least as part of the concert and dance trio Cupola, with husband Doug Eunson and Oli Matthews, or the slightly expanded quartet Cupola:Ward with fellow Derbyshire songstress Lucy Ward.

For her debut solo album, Sarah has gone all Mike Oldfield, playing all the instruments herself, on a collection of either self-penned, adapted traditional or contemporary songs and tunes. Sarah approached the album in the manner of an experiment but soon had a fully coherent collection of material, which includes some fine unaccompanied singing (The Ballad of John Bright/Cathy Shaw/T'owd Brahn 'En), rapper sword dance tunes (Stone Monkey Rapper Dance Set), no less than two early Joni Mitchell songs (Chelsea Morning/The Fiddle and the Drum) and one or two songs taken from other projects Sarah has been involved with. Co-produced by Sarah and Doug, AS I WAS WALKING appears less of an experiment and more of a personal and timeless journey through song and dance. 

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky