AMY DUNCAN – Cycles Of Life Linn AKD 437

AMY DUNCAN Cycles Of LifeAmy Duncan’s new album opens, and indeed closes, with unshakeable optimism, which is unusual and very welcome these days.

The title song is about moving on and putting the past behind but it was the second track, ‘Song To Myself’, that attracted my attention. “I will be there at the moment of your death”, she sings. It’s an obvious thought but I don’t recall anyone putting it quite like that before. Be true to yourself is the clear message. The optimism of ‘Everything Is Going To Be Alright’ may be cockeyed but it’s something I’m sure we’ve all thought – everything will be alright if only… In between there is a fair amount of gloom with ‘When The Dead Are Watching’ and ‘Crack In The World’ while ‘Ivory Tower’ is a song of self-criticism. The single, ‘Navigating’, brings back the feel-good factor.

Amy is a multi-instrumentalist and well-known as a double bass player. She is supported by harpist Fiona Rutherford and the string trio of Robert McFall, Brian Schiele and Su-A Lee with dobro from Ted Ponsonby, drums from Liam Bradley and extra keyboards from producer Calum Malcolm. The music drifts towards the jazzy end of folk but the strings are lush and sometimes everything stops except for the acoustic guitar to remind us where it all comes from. Dai Jeffries

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