TIM READMAN & JENNIE BICE – Out Of The Green – Big City BC021

An album of British traditional and modern songs by a Canadian artist is an intriguing prospect. Even more intriguing is Tim Readman’s track record which embraces every influence available between Newcastle and Vancouver and digging deeper you find that Tim is a Geordie born and bred, which explains quite a lot. As well as being a singer, guitarist and songwriter Tim is a producer and journalist and sometime artistic director of CelticFest Vancouver and now the picture is complete.

The material on Out Of The Green would not be a surprise on any CD by a young British singer. Tim’s sources are impeccable and, although many of the titles are familiar, he has interesting variants on the traditional material and an interesting approach to the contemporary material. He opens with a brash Irish version of ‘Barleycorn’ and follows that with a rather polite version of ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’ in which he covers Shane McGowan while not falling into the trap of sounding like him. Next is probably the album’s best track, Jonathan’s Kelly’s ‘Ballad Of Cursed Anna’ which, if you didn’t know otherwise, you’d attribute to Bob Pegg. His supporters are fiddler Jennie Bice, who shares top billing, plus Ed Weaver and Alan Dionne on mandola, accordion and bodhran – tight and dynamic but not intrusive.

I’m less impressed by Tim’s version of ‘How Can I Ever Be Simple Again?’ which, to my mind, needs more delicacy and fragility than he gives it. Indeed, if there is a fault with this enjoyable album it is a lack of light and shade.

Dai Jeffries

Artist Web Link: www.timreadman.com