Katriona (fiddle, viola, mandolin, vocals) and Jamie (vocals, guitar) are joined on this album by Jack Theedom (double bass) and Dom Howell (percussion), with PJ Wright guesting on two tracks on pedal steel, and Cia Cherryholmes on banjo on Off To California.
I’ll take a few lines to describe that, as a fairly typical track. It starts with banjo, bass and guitar supporting a laid-back, bluegrassy fiddle playing a personalised Off To California and this is used as a bridge between the verses of a good song by Katriona, who sings with a slightly breathy, laid-back voice in fine intonation devoid of excessive gracing. There is a solid, multi-vocal chorus which would make an enjoyable singalong, and Katriona produces an unhurried, inventive solo, using either double stopping or double tracking. Jamie also writes solid songs, and sings in a gentle, simple, breathy style with good intonation and confidence. Some of the tracks have a soft rock feel (we’re only young once) but most command attention through an understated, insistent pulse.There are three instrumental numbers, led by Katriona’s fiddle (which actually sounds like a fiddle) with highly technical but apt guitar accompaniment. The tunes chosen fit well together, whether traditional sounding compositions by Gilmore, Roberts, or Playford. Jamie’s Punch & Chase, for instance, suits Playford’s Wallom Green (a fine 3/2 hornpipe) perfectly, though if I hadn’t known it beforehand, I’d have guessed that the first tune was the traditional one. It’s clear that these fine youngsters have fallen in love with traditional music, and know how to weave it into a tapestry of their own invention. I am particularly pleased by the relaxed presentation. One is reminded of the Tate & Lyle motto, but in reverse: out of sweetness came forth strength. I wish them all success. I would be tickled to shake the hand of the young lady who came up with the tune title Upper Badger’s Bottom. I’m looking forward to hearing them live, and can only hope that an event organiser takes my hint and books them soon. I rarely issue injunctions in my reviews, but – Go and buy it! Today! Flos Headford