Dale Miller: Fingerpicking Rags And Other Delights

 

Summary

Format: CD

Genre:  Folk/Folk-blues/Jazz/Pop

Tracks: 21

Playing time:  38 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s): http://www.dalemiller.com

My rating:  10/10

I like…  The variety of genres, the upbeat feel, the rich tone

I’m less keen on…   Some of the tracks are very short, but then the album is really aimed at guitar players wanting to learn new tunes and arrangements

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Not only did the “folk revival” in America in the 1960s see the rediscovery of some great performers from, several decades earlier, it also saw a new generation of would-be guitar players. Many set themselves to learning the styles of the likes of Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis and Son House.  Some tracked down the music of other players, long dead, from the 1920s and 1930s. Blues and ragtime guitar challenged their dedication and co-ordination.

 

A number of players married the fingerpicking styles of some of the greats to compositions of their own, or to a range of tunes from folk or pop traditions. This album is a case in point. Continue reading “Dale Miller: Fingerpicking Rags And Other Delights”

Alison Eve: Time & Tide

Summarytime-and-tide-cover-copy

Format:  CD

Genre:  Folk/Celtic/”Meditative and reflective”

Tracks: 8

Playing time:   58 minutes

Availability (out of 3):  **

Related website(s): http://alisoneve.co.uk;  http://ritualitas.co.uk

 My rating: 8/10

I like: The variety of sounds and moods, Alison’s voice as well as the harp, the arrangements

I’m less keen on :  –

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I love the sound of a harp. It’s relaxing and somehow soulful, and when it’s Celtic harp playing folk melodies (traditional or contemporary) I think it’s almost magical.

I’d never heard of this player or album until they were brought to my attention by a fellow member of a review site. I took a punt, ordered two titles, and eagerly awaited their arrival!

Who?

Alison Eve has studied and taught singing. From her childhood she played piano, guitar and trumpet.alicud033-edit1

From around 1999 she decided to teach herself harp, and her website names Loreena McKennit and Clannad as strong influences.

Besides singing and recording in her own right, she seems to have quite a diverse range of styles. As well as singing in a folk vocal group “Messenger” and a female choir “nChant” she has also sung with a folk-rock “Eve And The Garden”, and even a heavy metal band “Ascentis”!

She plays at an increasing number of weddings.

Celtic harp

Unlike classical harp with its various pedals, Celtic harps have levers. They come in various sizes and with various numbers of strings, but essentially they have a wide pitch, giving the unique sound, the higher pitched strings creating an ethereal tinkling in contrast with the lower pitched ones. Alison Eve’s website describes three instruments that she has: a small harp with 25 strings, her main one, a maple large lever folk harp, and also an electric instrument harp made from carbon fibre. The photograph below from her website (used with kind permission) shows her with the second of these instruments, performing at a wedding.

delaney-michael-crop-1

 

In Ireland the harp has had a very chequered history; it was such a part of Irish culture that it came to be seen as a symbol of resistance to English rule and was banned for many years. It’s hardly surprising that for many years the harp did indeed serve as a symbol of Irish identity, and graced the back of coins from Eire for many years! Continue reading “Alison Eve: Time & Tide”

Joseph Spence: Complete Folkways Recordings 1958

Summary

Format: CDspence-album-cover

Genre:  Folk/world (instrumental guitar)

Tracks: 9

Playing time: 51 minutes 

Availability (out of 3): *

Related website(s):  http://www.folkways.si.edu/joseph-spence-bahamian-master-guitarist/world/music/article/smithsonian

My rating:  9/10

I like…  The sponataneity, the vibrancy, slightly exotic feel, variations and improvisations

I’m less keen on…   The lack of polish won’t appeal to some (but doesn’t put me off – it’s simply the trade-off for spontaneity). The vocals need to be accepted rather than enjoyed. 

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The revival of interest in “folk” music in the 1950s – which embraced several acoustic genres – led to a search for some former great players and singers from the 1920s and 1930s, and also to widespread travel to capture “field recordings” in obscure places by local people who sang or played on a purely amateur basis.

The hope of those who undertook such journeys was, of course, to make a great discovery. Obviously, the search for great music from people hitherto unheard of was far more fickle. Huge amounts of music were captured, much of it interesting. Little of it was great, however. Continue reading “Joseph Spence: Complete Folkways Recordings 1958”

Vamm: Vamm

SummaryVAMM

Format:  CD

Genre:  Folk (Traditional, Celtic, Instrumental)

Tracks: 10

Playing time: 45 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s): (1)  http://www.catrionamacdonald.co.uk;   http://www.patsyreid.com;   https://maritandrona.bandcamp.com

http://www.folkradio.co.uk/2013/07/vamm-interview

My rating: 9/10

I like…   The vibrancy, the interweave of the instruments, the uplifting, upbeat tunes

I’m less keen on…  I’d have liked a bit more information on the sleeve – minor gripe!

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I was lucky enough to spot the CD in my local library and, having listened to it (was £1.00 ever better spent?!), Continue reading “Vamm: Vamm”