JIM MORAY – Skulk (NIBL013)

Perhaps its Moray’s numerous tales of brushes with death on previous recordings that inspired him to use the collective noun for foxes ‘Skulk’ as the title of his latest CD. Or maybe you’ve just seen the series “Whitechapel” on TV? Whatever the reason, his opening choice of song “The Captain’s Apprentice” is a brooding piece of work that would settle comfortably alongside any recording by June Tabor and I certainly applaud the unsettling choice of piano chords on a stark background of saxophone used for its texture rather than as a melody. This really is an unpretentious, Gothic piece of dramatic theatre that wouldn’t sound out of place as the soundtrack to a David Lynch or David Cronenberg movie and will doubtless send shivers down the spine of anyone who purports to have a soul. For this track alone I’d personally give the album a ten but than that would be to dismiss this young man’s ability to turn his hand to more or less any genre of music he cares to utilise for his excursions. He makes no bones that the ‘traditional’ emphasis of his outpourings is his main preference of ingredient but in using a heady mixture of jazz, rock and classical the scatter-gun approach will hopefully expand the confines an audience made-up of primarily ‘folk’ music enthusiasts. This album may not be to everyone’s taste; perhaps a little too maudlin for most but I urge you to think again because any ‘craftsman’ that can make you go straight to your computer to check out the original version of Anais Mitchell’s (www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IOeGyD4zUA) “If It’s True” has done his job superbly well. I’d finally like to credit the tremendous sleeve photos of Sorrel The Fox (held with loving care by Moray) taken by the ever imaginative David Angel. If you’re an animal lover or just love good music you’ll love this recording.

PETE FYFE

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Artist Web link: http://jimmoray.co.uk/

“Already, one of the great album releases of 2012!” folking.com

OONAGH DERBY – Harmony Street (KTM Records KTM001)

In a way Oonah Derby’s story reflects Irish chanteuse Mary Black’s transformation as singer for General Humbert to her more elevated position as a conveyer of contemporary songs. Having come via a traditional music grounding in the band ‘Nua’ Derby has slipped effortlessly into the mantle of singer-songwriter in collaboration with guitarist Gerard Thompson. From what I’m sure was a pretty safe environment propelling oneself into the glare of the contemporary music genre is quite a step but one that I’m sure will pay dividends as soon as everyone has become aware of her and in this technological day and age who’s not to say that isn’t possible? Utilising the services of producer/musician Gerry (banjo) O’Connor is something of a master stroke as I’m sure he helped immeasurably in steering the crossover cultures inherent on the album. At times reminiscent of recordings by Shania Twain, Dolores Keane and Maura O’Connell this cross fertilisation of acoustic based country-rock brings a pleasing smile to the face and could well prove significant in making her music available to a wider audience. Obviously well versed in the art of ‘road touring’ her “Sick, Sore And Tired” is a tried and tested anthem that will ring true with any number of bands and has what is required with a raunchy punch in delivery proving she can get down and dirty with any of Nashville’s finest. The gentle ‘shuffle’ of the title track “Harmony Street” will prove popular with anyone more used to the mellow tones beloved of Radio 2 listeners whilst her lyrics have a ‘knowing’ quality that I’m sure speaks volumes for world weary (and rootless) travellers everywhere.

PETE FYFE

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Artist Web link: www.oonaghderby.com

THE CARRIVICK SISTERS – FROM THE FIELDS

The Carrivick Sisters are twins Laura and Charlotte Carrivick from South Devon. Both are skilled multi-instrumentalists and between them they play a variety of bluegrass-associated instruments – guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro and fiddle. Though just 21 years old, Laura and Charlotte are already accomplished songwriters, fine individual singers, and they harmonise hauntingly, as often only siblings can, their beguiling voices blending together irresistibly. Although their principle influence is bluegrass, their music also has a strong folk influence, with many of their original songs inspired by their local landscape and stories.

The Carrivick Sisters are experienced performers, having played all over the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. They have released three previous CDs – My Own Two Feet (2006), Better Than 6 Cakes (2007) and Jupiter’s Corner (2009) and have just completed their fourth album, From The Fields.

Produced and recorded by Joe Rusby (brother of Kate) at Pure Records Studio, From the Fields comprises eleven originals; ten songs and one instrumental, and one traditional song ‘Early, Early In The Spring’ and features contributions from guest musicians: John Breese (Banjo), BJ Cole (Pedal Steel), Eleanor Cross (Double Bass), Matt Crum (Melodeon) and David Kosky (Guitar),

The Carrivick Sisters first started performing as a duo in 2006, originally as buskers before starting to play more and more proper gigs, turning professional when they left school in 2007. As well as performing as ‘The Carrivick Sisters’, Laura and Charlotte have also played with a number of other bands – Blue South, Miles Apart, Banjo Accelerator; Kick Up the Grass and currently ‘Andsome and Some.

In 2007 they won the South West Busker’s and Street Entertainer’s Competition, gaining themselves their first spot at Glastonbury Festival. In 2008 Laura achieved 2nd place at the RockyGrass Fiddle Contest in America. More recently, The Carrivick Sisters were finalists in the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2010.

I am very impressed by The Carrivick Sisters, one of the best young duos I’ve heard. The girls sing and play as one and their work is characterised by great musicality. They are not only very talented instrumentalists and singers but they write really good songs as well.” Ralph McTell

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Artist Web link: http://thecarrivicksisters.wordpress.com/

Cheyenne Brown – Parallel Latitudes

Alaskan harpist Cheyenne Brown’s beautifully packaged new album “Parallel Latitudes” is a project which aims to highlight connections between music of her homeland, her adopted home of Scotland and sources further a field.

Jigs, reels and tunes are presented with an eclectic mix of accompanying instruments ranging from dobra to banjo, tabla to bodhran. Traditional airs are given inventive settings and juxtaposed against atmospheric melodies with Cheyenne’s own compositions “Seals at Rhu” and “Ruth’s Recovery” showing that she is a musical force to be reckoned with as well as a harpist of great dexterity.

“Parallel Latitudes” is an accomplished enterprise which showcases not only a highly talented soloist and her band but also the wide ranging capabilities of the traditional harp particularly on the improvisatory title track.

Cheyenne’s harp is supported by Seylan Baxter on cello, Jon Bews on fiddle, Dave Currie on dobro, Dave Boyd on percussion, Jon Bews on fiddle, Hardeep Deerhe on tabla and Anna Massie on banjo. “Parallel Latitudes” has been nominated for the Roots Album of the Year at the Scottish Music Awards.

Janet M. Roe

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist Web Link www.cheyenneharp.com