Amy Thatcher is usually to be found with The Shee or The Monster Ceilidh Band or alongside Kathryn Tickell in The Side. This, however, is her first solo album called, appropriately, Solo.
Amy plays a Pigini converter and utilises the free-bass system. Accordion experts, of whom I am emphatically not one, will understand this immediately but for the rest of us it means that the player has greater freedom with the left hand to form chords and play notes that the standard system doesn’t allow for. I think. When the first track got going after its pastoral opening section I searched the sleeve for the identity of the bassist but, of course, it’s all Amy.
I must confess that I’m not a great fan of squeeze-boxes of any description, although I’m always nice to John Kirkpatrick because he’s bigger than me, but I reckon that even he could learn a trick or two from listening to this record. Forget accompaniment or dancing, Solo is definitely an album for listening to and if you let yourself drift away it will be over before you know. Actually, the final track, ‘Stomping Clog (remix)’ will bring you back to reality quite sharply – it does exactly what it says. The album isn’t all soft and delicate by any means and the one non-original tune, Shona Mooney’s ‘Sleep Spindles’, paired with ‘Zakopane Christmas’ will set your feet tapping and I’m still trying to get my head round the fact that Amy can play two different rhythms at once as she does on ‘Jo Lin’
Solo is an unexpected album of piano-accordion and I like it a lot more than I thought I would – it’s always good to be surprised.
Artist’s website: www.amythatcher.co.uk
We haven’t found any video or audio of Amy solo so here’s a clip of her clogging: