Recognised as one of the best harmonica players of his generation, 26-year-old Will Pound shows why he is undoubtedly “A Cut Above” with the release of a barnstormer of a debut solo album and new planned tour dates.
Together with banjo player Dan Walsh he made his name in the duo Walsh and Pound but now he steps out on his own in this eclectic 12-track album.
Nominated for the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards “Musician of the Year” title Oxfordshire-based Will lives on a narrowboat – making the album title especially apt, with “cut” being slang for canal.
Playing both diatonic and chromatic harmonica he reaches the parts others harp players simply don’t. An outstanding natural talent, Will has quickly made his mark on the acoustic scene against the odds, despite suffering from dyslexia and not reading music. Born with a heart defect and having to undergo several operations as a child, Will was encouraged to take up the harmonica by his father as a way of helping with his breathing and overall health – and it certainly worked!
An effervescent, life-affirming album A Cut Above acrobatically hops across bluegrass, folk and jazz to blues, rock, pop and funk featuring both new arrangements of traditional numbers and inventive original material. Be it a sultry take on Amazing Grace, the jaunty title track written by Will and wife Nicky or the barely-time- to-catch-your-breath bluegrass fave Clinch Mountain Back Step, this is a compelling and dazzling display of virtuosity.
WHAT THE MEDIA ARE SAYING ABOUT A CUT ABOVE
“An absolute barnstormer of a debut album – punchy, wonderful energy and virtuoso playing” – Tom Robinson, BBC 6 Music
“This album is a complete stunner – damn, damn good! A genius of the tin sandwich!” – Mike Harding
“This album is pretty spectacular – what an incredible gift – what a genius this man is!” – Bruce Macgregor, BBC Radio Scotland
The album is produced by Andy Seward and Andie Thomson and Will is aided and abetted by some of the finest musicians on the scene – guitar genius Martin Simpson, melodeon ace Andy Cutting, top Scottish folk musician Kris Drever, 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year Tim Edey and Irish singer/multi-instrumentalist Damien O’Kane.
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Last year the harp ace joined forces with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Paloma Faith, Beverley Knight, Shane MacGowan, Glenn Tillbrook and Mel C on the Hillsborough charity single – the emotive cover of The Hollies classic He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – which became the Christmas No.1. Will also played a key role on the accompanying video, opening the song with a poignant harmonica solo.
Will has now formed his own Will Pound Band with key musicians Henry Webster – (violin), the 2013 London Fiddle Convention Competition winner; guitarist Chris Sarjeant (Jackie Oates Band) and John Parker (double bass), one half of UK chart topping Nizlopi, who has also guested with Newton Faulkner, Ed Sheeran and Paper Aeroplanes.
A Cut Above is released on Pound’s Lulubug Records label and distributed by Proper Distribution. On December 4, Will, joined by bass player John Parker, will be live in session on BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe Show.