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Alden, Patterson & Dashwood Alden, Patterson & Dashwood
Album: Call Me Home
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 9

Not another firm of solicitors, but an honestly-named Norwich-based trio comprising Christina Alden, Alex Patterson and Noel Dashwood, whose stock-in-trade is equally honest-to-goodness, homespun, folky Americana-tinged music. The homespun element extends out from the music into the appealing presentation - lovingly hand-printed, handmade cover with artwork matching the simple aura of the music within.

The Alden, Patterson & Dashwood sound is a gently woven yet refreshingly uncluttered tapestry of dobro, fiddle/mandolin and guitar with simple, well-judged vocal harmonies; they clearly have a well-developed ear for the "less is more" tenet, and there's no sense of instrumental overload or of grandstanding in the playing. Two-thirds of the tracks are original compositions by the band members, and these generally inhabit a genially laid-back, fairly contented if also slightly ruminative contemporary-folk styling, with the instrumentation imparting a pronounced old-time flavour for much of the time.

Lyrics tend to embrace nice things like affection for home, uncomplicated thoughts and ambitions or peaceful travellers' tales. Of the traditional items, the most familiar will be The Riddle Song, while the others (Mole In The Ground and Sweet & Low) are perhaps less widely-known, at least under those titles; fittingly in the context of the instrumental settings, these all have a connection with transatlantic crossings and Appalachian origins.

There's a welcome intimacy to Alden, Patterson & Dashwood's delivery, which is suitably efficiently conveyed on CD, and although in the end there's no reason to shout this album from the rooftops I suspect the trio's easy musicianship and attractive material may make even more of an impact in live performance.

David Kidman