So much has happened to Hannah and Sam since they released Catches & Glees that I’m almost surprised to find them still working together. Sam has joined Bellowhead and Jon Boden’s Remnant Kings while Hannah has formed Lady Maisery and has joined Hell Said The Duchess with Karen Tweed while continuing to work with The Demon Barbers Roadshow.
Nevertheless, here they are with a new album proving that the experience of the past three years has not been wasted. They have not succumbed to the temptation of adding a guest here and there although there are some new instruments, notably Sam’s Hardanger fiddle. The refinement of their music is immediately apparent in ‘Hole In The Wall’, the splendid 17th century hornpipe that opens the album. They get folkier with the distinctly English style of fiddle playing on ‘Parson Upon Dorothy’ which is paired with ‘Dolly’ with Hannah’s voice slightly down in the mix as though it was treated like another instrument.
Some of the songs are well-known: ‘William Taylor’, and ‘The Farmer’s Cursed Wife’ and ‘The Golden Glove’ for example, but all have a freshness and lightness of touch often with pretty counter-melodies in their arrangements. All in all, a splendid album.