Bryony Griffith and Will Hampson have been working together for nearly twenty years, most recently in The Demon Barbers. I take this on trust since the photograph on the cover suggests that they began making music together as children. This is their recording debut as a duo.

All the music on Lady Diamond is traditional and as an old git I find it fascinating to see Anne Briggs and Tony Rose cited as sources – a sign of the times, I suppose, and a recognition of all that has gone before.

Bryony does all the singing and plays fiddle, viola and piano; Will plays a variety of melodeons and they often add a tune to a song so the title song is paired with ‘Iron Legs’, a tune I hadn’t heard before.

Additionally, there are two instrumental sets mixing sources and styles with great aplomb. Best of all is their robust and definitely northern approach to their material. The best female singers, in whatever genre, stamp their own authority on their songs and Bryony Griffith does just that while Will has some very individual rhythmic tricks on melodeon that make their sound so distinctive.

The best tracks, to my mind, are the opening ‘Martinmas Time’, ‘The Heysham Peace-Egging Song’, a stark ‘The Constant Lovers’ with its mournful piano accompaniment and the jolly ‘The Ringers Of Egloshayle/The Rose Hill’. To be honest, though, there’s never a dull moment.

Dai Jeffries

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