MARIE-CLAIRE BERREEN – Box And A Ribbon

The lush string sounds courtesy of Glenn Louis Pettit’s keyboard on the opening song “Honeypie” is just right for that Sunday afternoon with Aled, Alan or Terry and indeed should be required listening for the Radio 2 generation. Nicely chilled, the track introduces the world to the vocal delights of Marie-Claire Berreen who, without the aid of a Brit School (I’m thinking Katie Melua and Adele) upbringing should be seen as a bonus. It must be difficult for anyone trying to make their way in the industry we’ve come to know as ‘music’ but with an eye for the ‘light entertainment’ market this should see Ms Berreen going places. I’m hoping that I’m speaking on behalf of most of us in that the ‘folk’ world have more or less (OK, in many cases reluctantly) accepted the generalised term ‘acoustic’ as common currency and in so doing have learnt to embrace the cross-fertilisation of jazz that this recording represents. The album has many gems including “One-Armed Bandit” and the lullaby-ish “Mr Monster” which are revealing insights into a lady who utilises music like a Catholic going to ‘confession’ or an appearance on the Jeremy Kyle Show. Accompanied by a tasteful backing ‘band’ including long-time collaborator and guitarist Steve Wattison, Pete Jennings-Bates (bass) and Dan Slade on drums the recording proceeds at a leisurely but not too laid-back pace. In my opinion the stigma of being labelled this or that should not have any bearing in this day and age and as an artist there should be no question of guilt or fear of recrimination from an audience who will hopefully prove to be open-minded. PETE FYFE


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