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Reviews

Chris Stout and Catriona McKay - Bare Knuckle (Self Release)

Once again Stout and McKay deliver a striking selection of intuitive instrumental pieces for both fiddle and harp with breathtaking results. The arrangements are adventurous, instinctive and immediately accessible with agile yet seemingly effortless playing, especially the haunting Tingaholm. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Lori Watson - Yarrow Acoustic Sessions (Isle Music Scotland)

Yarrow Valley-influenced song and poetry cycle by rising Scots singer Lori Watson, whose treatment of traditional themes is handled with considerable attention to detail, creating an immediately tangible sense of atmosphere and place. Also includes a rather lovely version of October Song. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Fran Wyburn - Wood for the Trees (Yellow Door Records)

Picture this, an English country garden drenched in wild flowers as spring morphs into summer; a singer gently plucks her guitar beneath a daisy chain halo, a wistful voice singing an ethereal song, bees busily pollinating, butterflies dancing upon a gentle breeze.. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Boldwood - Glory of the West (Hobgoblin Records)

Boldwood's second album unearths more 18th century English instrumental music, each tune recalling a period when folk and classical music happily co-existed with little fuss. Classically trained, each of the four musicians of Boldwood demonstrate their chops in 12 beautifully arranged pieces. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Beth Nielsen Chapman - Hearts of Glass (BNC Records)

Beth Nielsen Chapman has one of the great ballad voices in music and this album really proves that. There are some up tempo stormers on this her latest album, Come To Mine and Enough For Me crackle with up tempo radio friendly sparkle, but Beth really shines on the slower numbers where her voice...

Kyle Carey - The Art of Forgetting (Riverboat Records)

A fine blend of Celtic Americana with Appalachian undertones, Kyle Carey delivers a dozen songs predominantly from her own pen but with a further nod to Nanci Griffith on Trouble in the Fields. Joined by a stellar cast of supporters including Rhiannon Giddens, John McCusker and Mike McGoldrick. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Brad Mehldau - After Bach (Nonesuch Records)

Stare a few moments at the spiral staircase on the cover of Brad Mehldau's latest record and you'll suddenly become unsure whether you're looking up or down. It's this somewhat vertiginous feeling, mixed with a paradoxical sense of logic and reason, that makes the music of Bach perpetually engaging...

Richard Knott - Short (Solid Thumb Music)

Good time excursions through Stefan Grossman/Happy Traum territory courtesy of Manchester-based guitarist Richard Knott, an emphasis being on the guitar playing rather than Richard's slightly pedestrian vocal. A love of Brazilian music evident on the Asrud Gilberto influenced The Shortest Day . (AW)

Star rating: 
3

Matthew Robb - Spirit in the Form (Wabi Sabi Music)

Shades of Townes Van Zandt present in both Robb's vocal delivery and in his physical appearance, probably too much of a coincidence it has to be said. Despite well-written songs, convincing performances and an air of doom in places, there really is only one Townes. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

James Edwyn and the Borrowed Band - High Fences (Dead Records Collective)

Second album release by Glasgow-based James Edwyn and the Borrowed Band, mixes Country-inflected and mildly rocking songs, with one or two tender acoustic moments, Pushing Statues and Never in a While amongst them. Shades of Ryan Adams in places with a pinch of that old borrowed Americana. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

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