BOLDWOOD – Glory Of The West (Hobgoblin HOBCD 1018)

Glory Of The WestBoldwood released their first album ten years ago. Glory Of The West is their second so there have been a few changes in between. The group has slimmed down to a quartet with Matthew Coatsworth joining Becky Price, Daniel Wolverson and Kate Moran. The essence of the line-up is still fiddles and violas with Becky on accordion and piano and now Matthew adds his English concertina. The repertoire is English dance music from the 17th and 18th centuries with one tune as late as 1838. Although originally published in collections of country dances, these are more like country house dances and they conjure up images of elegant drawing rooms and lavishly appointed ballrooms.

Not that there is anything stiff or overly formal about Boldwood. The opener, ‘Dainty Fine Bride’ from the pen of Nathaniel Kynaston, is played as daintily as you like except that the pizzicato gives it a very modern feel. Other sources include the usual suspects John Playford and Thomas D’Urfey (responsible for a delightful setting of ‘Just As The Tide Was Flowing’) but Boldwood have a fascination for old and obscure manuscripts, even finding ‘The Bastille’ printed on a dance fan in the Ashmolean. Some of these tunes will be familiar but most will not.

Boldwood have their spirited side, too. ‘The Coquet/Irish Frolick’ will leave you as breathless as any ceilidh band but they follow it with ‘At The Brow Of The Hill’, a flute composition recast for piano and concertina. Initially, it sounds as though it was designed to give the ladies time to swoon, but it too picks up the pace. The title track is the album’s big production number, starting out rather untypically before building to a climax.

Glory Of The West is a multi-purpose album. You can practice your dance steps to it; pinch a tune or two if you’re so inclined or just listen to it for pleasure. It’s very good for that.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘Hunsdon House’ recorded at The Ashmolean Museum (not from the album):

Boldwood: second album available soon


Glory Of The West is Boldwood’s second full length album, coming a decade after their debut album, Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now, which was released in 2007 to great acclaim, and also included many previously unrecorded tunes. The band was awarded Fatea magazine’s Tradition Award in 2008. This long awaited release contains 12 more gems gleaned from the rich past of English dance music by Becky Price.  Members past and present appear in the current BBC television adaptation of Poldark. Boldwood’s music was also heard in episode two.

Boldwood was born in 2003, when accordionist Becky Price visited the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in Cecil Sharp House, London. She was drawn to an elegant, locked bookcase containing mysterious leather-bound volumes. Wearing the regulation white gloves, she leafed through the fragile, often handwritten manuscripts and discovered a treasury of forgotten English dance music. Copying out her favourites she gradually realised what these tunes really needed…… a new band!

Back in 18th century England, the worlds of folk and classical music happily co-existed and inspired each other to produce rich and fascinating instrumental music. This glorious period in our musical history provides Boldwood with the core of its repertoire. Much of Boldwood’s material is taken from little-known publications and hand-written manuscripts, all of which could end up sounding rather dry and academic. Boldwood, however, is anything but, being described by Blast from the Pastas ‘the most exciting band playing English music at the moment’.

All the members of Boldwood are classically trained, with an additional grounding in traditional music and, since much of this material was originally intended for dancing, they bring these neglected musical gems to life with a tremendous energy and drive.

A book of tunes collected by Becky and Matthew –The Boldwood Dancing Master -was published in 2014. In 2016, The Second Boldwood Dancing Master was published by Blast Books.

BECKY PRICE (piano accordion) studied classical piano with David Earl in Cambridge, played in Finality Jack for 7 years and has recorded with Blowzabella members Dave Shepherd (Ashburnham) and Jon Swayne (Love And A Bottle).

KATE MORAN (violin, viola) recently completed a Masters in Violin Performance at the RNCM in Manchester. She has played English traditional music since her childhood, was a member of the Britten-Pears Orchestra for several years, and currently divides her time between Boldwood, teaching and freelance classical playing, most recently with Longborough Opera.

DANIEL WOLVERSON (violin, viola) plays fiddle in Pach Pi, Infamous Grouse and Finnegan’s Wok, and hurdy-gurdy in French dance band Cyser. He also plays nyckelharpa (Scandinavian keyed fiddle,) and played soprano violin in a performance by Carleen Hutchins’ New Violin Family in 2005 (dir. Roddy Skeaping)

MATTHEW COATSWORTH  (fiddle, viola, English concertina)

Artists’ website:

Karen Tweed – Essentially Invisible to the Eye

ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE TO THE EYE is Karen Tweed’s latest recording and, in being entirely solo, is a departure from her extensive collaborative work which has dominated her career since the early 1990s.

Born in London in 1963 to an Irish mother and English father, Karen took up the accordion at the age of eleven. Since turning professional in the late 1980s, she has appeared on over thirty albums from her early days with The Kathryn Tickell Band to being a founding member of the pioneering all female Poozies, through the Anglo-Swedish ensemble SWAP, American collaboration Undertoe with Stuart Kenney, Marko Packard and Rodney Miller, to The Two Duos Quartet with Andy Cutting, Chris Wood and Ian Carr. Karen’s duo work with Ian Carr, Andy Cutting and also Roger Wilson and John Dipper has left many an audience mesmerised at her breathtaking musicianship, while her trios with Hannah James and Becky Price in Hell Said The Duchess and with Carolyn Robson and Kevin Dempsey are more examples of her diversity and creativity.

Her larger scale projects include Circa Compania, a 14-piece all-singing, all-dancing tour-de-force and The No 1 Ladies Accordion Orchestra where she has brought together accordionists from all over the UK. More recently she has been Musical Director of ‘Land of Liberty’ a community play directed by Philip Parr of Parrabola and her duo work includes singers Jackie Oates, Kevin Dempsey and Johnny Coppin. Karen’s teaming up with highly respected Finnish pianist and composer Timo Alakotila to form May Monday led to phenomenal praise and accolades for their artistic grace, beauty and breaking down of musical barriers.

Her playing has been described as mercurial, soulful, effervescent and sensitive, while as a teacher, she’s proved to be an inspirational and encouraging role model, whether teaching university students performance and arrangement skills or leading accordion workshops and master classes.

ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE TO THE EYE, produced by Bruce Molsky, brings all of these influences and ideas from her career so far together and illustrates just how dynamic, sensual, joyful and inspirational she can be. Karen often cites those she has worked with as major influences and inspiration and this fine recording shows how she continues to incorporate and further develop those ideas. Following conversations with Bruce, Colum Sands and Lorraine Carpenter, Karen began to think about a solo project and their thoughts that her music could be seen as songs or stories without words rather than a collection of tunes, sparked off the seed for this CD.

Bruce Molsky was the perfect choice as producer, because of his diverse and superb skills as a musician and his understanding of storytelling through traditional song. The CD has five tracks, all solo accordion but performed as a suite of Karen’s much loved collections of tunes, a blend of original and traditional and intended to be played as one, taking the listener on a lyrical journey, sometimes autobiographical, sometimes whimsical but illustrating how much the accordion has become Karen’s voice and pen and muse.

ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE TO THE EYE is possibly Karen’s most emotive work to date and will be toured in its entirety in 2012.

For more information and the latest tour news, please visit: