Whalebone – Three Fires – TWO WILD WOMEN RECORDS TWW278

If you’re looking for something new and different, how about an acoustic trio from Shropshire who cover Guns’N’Roses and Led Zeppelin? whalebone have evolved over the years into a trio of two guitars – Steve Downs and Charlotte Watson – and a fiddle – Sarah Ibberson. Three Fires is actually their first studio album as a trio.

The line-up is unusual in that the guitar doesn’t form a continuo while the fiddle does the glamorous stuff. All three instruments are equal as the lead is swapped between them and there are no vocals: whalebone have never felt the need for them. Some of their material is original, ranging from the sprightly, dancing ‘Wenlock Hare’ to the suitably gloomy ‘November’; some is traditional, like the opener, ‘Herman The Carpenter’ and then there are the covers. The set is chosen on the basis of “do we like it?” and “will it work with these instruments?” thus ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ and a superb version of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ are on this album. Also included are ‘Londonderry Air’ which still seems a bit corny to me and ‘The Boxer’. The latter could sound like lift music but whalebone play it almost as a lament over a mournful fiddle and it works.

This is an album that came as a delightful surprise. From being unaware of whalebone I’ve become something of a fan based on these fourteen tracks and the band’s down-to-earth approach to life, music and everything. There’s lots to listen to on their website before you buy. Dai Jeffries

Artist web-link: www.whalebone-music.com

We all give our spare time to run folking.com. Our aim has always been to keep folking a free service for our visitors, artists, PR agencies and tour promoters. If you wish help out and donate something (running costs currently funded by Paul Miles), please click the PayPal link below to send us a small one off payment or a monthly contribution.