Charlie Grey and Joseph Peach are two musicians from Scotland with a background steeped in their country's traditional sound, yet their own music is as informed by their self-penned material as it is their history.
Highly regarded as individual players, as a duo they 'play with a collective voice, the product of hundreds of gigs, thousands of miles travelled and innumerable hours of music played together'.
'Waves Rise From Quiet Water' was recorded in May 2016, capturing their core fiddle and piano combination but with the addition of extra instrumentation. Charlie Grey plays fiddle, tenor guitar and adds vocals while Joseph Peach supplies piano, fender Rhodes and accordion. In addition, Kim Carnie contributes further backing and harmony vocals.
The album itself was recorded by Joseph Peach and mixed and mastered by Mattie Foulds at Caribou Recording.
Opening track, the instrumental A 'thank you' Wont Pay The Fiddler enters in courtly fashion with a lovely, deep, resonant piano figure before the swooping violin picks out a deceptively simple melody. Over the next three minutes or so, this is used as a point of departure and return as the song builds, pushes and pulls beautifully.
This is followed by Kate Rusby's 'Sleepless Sailor', which is cleverly arranged and features a fine vocal from Charlie and some particularly affecting harmonies from Kim Carnie that add an almost ghostly quality to the sound.
'Maureen Fraser's' brings the piano of Joseph Peach to the fore as the melody is introduced before being supported by Charlie Grey's fiddle. This another song that builds strongly with some particularly fine unison playing as Joseph and Charlie push one another along. The whole recording of the album is crystal clear, but on this track the tone and texture of the fiddle and piano are stunning.
Track four 'Dornie' is similarly stately as it subtly works its way into the melody, but 'The Last Mile' really rings the changes. Shimmering in on a percussive drum programmed track that sounds so gloriously retro it put me in mind of All Saints 'Pure Shores'! Factor in some urgent, strident fiddle, drones and ethereal, spacey vocals from Kim Carnie that conjure up the Trip Hop vibe of Morcheeba and it all adds up to a great song. It is very easy to imagine this one wafting out over the sun washed Sunday afternoon crowd at Cambridge Folk Festival.
This eight-track album is a perfect showcase for Charlie Grey and Joseph Peach. Consummately played and sympathetically recorded, the songs benefit greatly from the addition of extra instrumentation, layering and vocals but at the heart of it, they remain true to their core fiddle and piano roots.
Throughout, the arrangements lend an almost cinematic, meditative quality to the sound and I can imagine any number of musical passages popping up as atmospheric backdrops to films, documentaries, adverts and the like.
Most importantly though, Charlie and Joseph certainly can play and for anyone that would normally shy away from predominantly instrumental music, and I count myself amongst them, I would thoroughly recommend this record as a horizon broadening starting point.
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