THE HALTON QUARTET – Based On True Events (Own Label HQR001CD)

This is a very nicely structured album in that it reminds me of days gone by when bands such as Nightnoise were recording for the Windham Hill record label. The combination of acoustic jazz and folk music felt fresh in a cultured way and so long as it wasn’t rammed down your throat could quite easily settle in either pigeon-hole of your CD collection. In nurturing this cross-fertilisation Adam Bulley (mandolin/guitar), Chas MacKenzie (acoustic/electric guitar), Ruaridh Campbell (fiddle) and Angus Lyon (accordion/rhodes) pave the way with sprightly tunes wrung as tightly as any well-worn cloth used by a Glaswegian Fisher-Wife and the quartet’s infused ‘world’ mix of time signatures and rhythms proves generally consumer friendly without sounding too clever or inaccessible. Personally I must admit to not being struck by the over-driven (distorted) classical guitar employed on the track “Triger Part One” (or, maybe it’s just my equipment?) but that’s a minor niggle when all of the band are obviously consummate musicians. On a final note and to prove my point, check out the flamboyant weaving mandolin patterns on Bulley’s “Balkeerie Lights”…it’ll astonish in a hearing Chris Thile for the first time kind of moment and make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck!

Pete Fyfe

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