Kate Rusby: Hourglass


Format: CD

Genre:  Folk (trad, vocal)

Tracks: 11

Playing time:  46 minutes

Availability (out of 3): ***

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

My rating: 10/10

I like…  Kate’s natural voice, poignant lyrics, minimal arrangements, the combined sound  instruments, tunes, and Kate’s voice

I’m less keen on… Nothing really


I first came across Kate Rusby in a guitar magazine. A few months later she was scheduled to perform a gig nearby. I booked a ticket and decided to sample some of her music beforehand. I settled for this, her first album.



Kate Rusby comes from Barnsley, Yorkshire. Prior to her solo work she had worked with Celtic girl band Continue reading “Kate Rusby: Hourglass”

John Renbourn: Live In Italy


Format: CD

Genre:  Folk/jazz

Tracks: 8

Playing time:  47 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  http://www.johnrenbourn.co.uk

My rating: 9/10

I like…  The variety of genres, the evocative and deft guitar playing

I’m less keen on… Nothing really, although ideally I’d have liked the inclusion of some of John’s interaction with the audience


I first came upon the late John Renbourn’s music through references in guitar tuition material. Not long after, I obtained a vinyl copy of “John Renbourn”.  Years later I added a CD or two to my collection, then, after hearing him live twice with harpist/multi-instrumentalist Robin Williamson, added a few more. I count myself honoured to have had my copy of this album autographed – complete with a pentangle symbol – by John at one of those gigs, where I bought it.

Continue reading “John Renbourn: Live In Italy”

Don McLean: Tapestry


Format: CD

Genre:  Product DetailsFolk/pop

Tracks: 11

Playing time: 42 minutes

Availability (out of 3): **

Related website(s):  https://don-mclean.com

My rating:  10/10

I like…  Don’s voice, the thought-provoking lyrics, the range of tunes, arrangements and sounds

I’m less keen on…  Nothing really, though as with any album I like some tracks more than others


In 1971 suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, an American singer-songwriter captivated many listeners with an epic but enigmatic song, “American Pie”, and the following year with “Vincent”. Much as I was tempted at the time to buy the “American Pie” album, I opted instead to buy Don’s debut album, “Tapestry”. Although the album, and its title track, shared the same name as Carole King’s better known “Tapestry”, Continue reading “Don McLean: Tapestry”

Fay Hield: Orfeo


Format: CD

Genre:  Folk (trad; vocal)

Tracks: 11

Playing time:  43 minutes

Availability (out of 3): ***

Related website(s):  www.fayhield.com

My rating:  9/10

I like:  Fay’s voice, the arrangements, 3 especially strong songs including one that blows me away each time

I’m less keen on:  a few of the less melodic songs – personal taste only, however!


“The Hurricane Party” isn’t what you would expect for the name of the band that backs a singer who performs traditional “folk” music. Continue reading “Fay Hield: Orfeo”

Sandy Denny (biography) “No More Sad Refrains”



Format:  Bookno-more-sad

Genre:  Biography (Music: Folk)

Pages (paperback): 

Availability (out of 3): **


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

My rating:  9/10

I like…   Engaging, empathetic, easy to read 

I’m less keen on…  The sloppy grammar at times


Sandy Denny had an uncanny ability to get right inside even songs penned by others, whether a traditional folk song or a more contemporary one, making it her own and delivering it with a power and an aura that were awesome. In a voice that was natural yet controlled she made the melody soar and tumble. It has the ability to break and mend the heart. Despite frequent listenings, some of her songs still have the ability to make my spine tingle and the hairs on the back of my neck rise.

Continue reading “Sandy Denny (biography) “No More Sad Refrains””

Alison Eve: Time & Tide


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 :  –


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!


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.



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”

Julie Fowlis: Live At Perthshire Amber


Format:  CD

Genre:  Folk (mainly traditional; Gaelic; vocal)

Tracks: 13

Playing time:  59 minutes

Availability (out of 3):  ***

Related website(s): www.juliefowlis.com

 My rating:  8/10

I like: Julie’s voice, the arrangements, the sound quality

I’m less keen on :  The flimsy card packaging!


I first encountered Julie Fowlis’ singing through a friend. Somehow he had bought two copies of her album “Cuilidh” Continue reading “Julie Fowlis: Live At Perthshire Amber”