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The Carrivick Sisters The Carrivick Sisters
Album: 10 Years Live
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12

Identical twins Laura and Charlotte Carrivick have been performing and recording together for ten years, creating a signature sound around their sweet vocal harmonies and light-touch guitar, fiddle and banjo playing.

The track listing of 10 Years Live was partly selected by an online fan vote, and contains a number of original compositions as well as favourite covers; some established in their live set but never before recorded.

Recorded live and in one take at a show in the magnificent surroundings of The Convent, Stroud, in 2016, the album opens with their excellent banjo and fiddle version of Mark James's 'Suspicious Minds', originally coming about following an invitation to appear in a Coen Brothers tribute project (Elvis Presley's version of the song famously opens the film Intolerable Cruelty).

A clutch of the sisters' own songs including a new instrumental from Charlotte, 'Crate 223', two songs from their 2013 album Over The Edge, 'The Moon' and 'Lady Howard', plus two from earlier albums, 'The William and Emma', and 'Today Is A Good Day', all highlight the sisters' seemingly instinctive ability to write and perform contemporary material in the traditional vein. Laura's instrumental 'Piggy Bank' meanwhile, from their first EP released in 2007, the intriguingly titled 'Better Than 6 Cakes', is a fine showcase for Laura's fiddle and Charlotte's mandolin virtuosity.

A delightful and faithful rendition of Joni Mitchell's 'River' always a moving song, is performed here with particular feeling, with a stunning lead vocal from Laura and atmospheric tenor guitar accompaniment from Charlotte. The sisters' cover of John Hartford's prosaic 'In Tall Buildings' also stands out, Laura's Dobro guitar lending their version much authenticity, repeated alongside Charlotte's banjo on their interpretation of James Taylor's 'Sweet Baby James'. Another highlight is bluegrass trailblazer Ola Belle Reed's 'Undone In Sorrow', building from an a capella opening to a strong guitar and fiddle piece.

The Carrivick Sisters low-key performance style may rarely see audiences dancing in the aisles, but there is nevertheless much to appreciate in their instinctive harmonies, skilled musicianship and mature songwriting. Existing admirers will enjoy this representative sample of their live performances, while for those yet to discover them, 10 Years Live is a fine entry point to The Carrivick Sisters' work.

Ian Taylor