THE DOVETAIL TRIO – Bold Champions (GR! Records GRR009)

Bold ChampionsBold Champions is the second album by Jamie Roberts, Rosie Hood and Matt Quinn and there is an awful lot to like about it.

Firstly, either the song, its title or its story is, in almost every case, familiar. These are songs that have stood the test of time and still come up fresh for this century. Young audiences – young performers, even – may not have had the opportunity to hear Walter Pardon, Harry Brazil or Bob Copper in the flesh but here are their songs nicely polished up. Secondly, The Dovetail Trio understand the importance of live performance and approach the songs with relish and vigour which makes the album fine listening.

The set begins with sex in the shape of ‘The Light Dragoon’, unusual in that the woman is the seducer but, in line with the morality of the times, she is the one in trouble. The song is taken at a sprightly pace boding well for the rest of the album. All the songs are traditional with the exception of ‘Black Eyed Susan’, a poem by John Gay set to a tune by Richard Leveridge in the 18th century. At first you might expect it to be the familiar story of a young lady running away to sea to be with her true love but actually it’s a terribly polite leave-taking. Stately harmonies here contrast with the first track.

‘The Bold Keeper’ is a tale of swashbuckling heroics decorated with a touch of Dave Brubeck and concluding happily. What? ‘Death And The Lady’ is the record’s still point, once again showcasing their harmonies. ‘Bold Champions’, another stirring story, was collected by Alfred Williams, although there are lots of versions all over the country. Williams apparently believed it to be a true story. ‘Flower Of London’ and ‘The Wreck Of The Northfleet’ are both downbeat stories and there is an excellent variant of ‘Two Sisters’ followed by ‘The Old Churchyard’, a hymn from the Ozarks.

As a bonus we get a live performance of the sublimely ridiculous ‘Four & Twenty Fiddlers’, a song I scarcely hoped to hear again. Bold Champions is a record packed with variety and excellent performances.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘Bold Champions’ – live:

BBC Performing Arts Fellowship recipient announced

EFDSS_rosie_hood_bannerTraditional singer Rosie Hood has been awarded a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship to work with the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Under the scheme, EFDSS will work with Rosie during 2015 to develop her artistic skills and professional opportunities, offering her guidance in a number of areas.

Rosie, who performs solo and with The Dovetail Trio, will also have access to rehearsal and performance opportunities and be part of EFDSS’ showcasing programme both in the UK and abroad.

The fellowship is awarded by the BBC Performing Arts Fund, which has given a total of £32,000 to 32 arts organisations across the UK so they can host a bespoke placement opportunity as part of the scheme. Successful organisations were able to demonstrate that a Fellowship placement with them would offer significant professional development opportunities for a Fellow, that their placement would be realistic and achievable, and that the selection process they went through to identify the Fellow was fair and transparent.

It is the second time in three years that a folk musician has received a Fellowship – singer songwriter Maz O’Connor was the recipient of an award in 2013.

“EFDSS is very excited to be part of the BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellowships and be working with Rosie over the next 12 months. She is a highly talented young artist at a stage in her career when this support can really help her to develop both her creative and business skills.” Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive

“I’m completely thrilled to have been awarded a Performing Arts Fund Fellowship with EFDSS. The combined knowledge, expertise and contacts of the society will be an invaluable resource to me over the coming year and I already feel more confident in my goals knowing that EFDSS believe in my ability to achieve them. The potential of what I might accomplish in this Fellowship is incredibly exciting and just a little bit daunting! I can’t wait to throw myself into it and develop musically, creatively and professionally in 2015.” Rosie Hood

The Dovetail Trio – ‘When I Was A young Maid’: