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Clark & Zuppardi Clark & Zuppardi
Album: You, I And The Sky
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

This is a delightful debut album from a newly-teamed, plainly-named Norfolk-based duo consisting of Adam Clark (from Nobodaddy) and Nic Zuppardi (Dan Walsh cohort, also of the Georgia Shackleton Trio). Their instrumental prowess is clear from the word go - Adam plays guitar and clawhammer banjo while Nic plays mandolin, and both lads take turns on tenor guitar. But they wear their virtuosity lightly on this pleasing transatlantic-session-style mix of their own original songs and tunes and some classics from the annals of the likes of The Carter Family and sacred harp - tho' I admit I had a bit of a hard time with following and confirming the composition credits (I'm sure one or two of 'em are misplaced).

But back to the performances - these are excellent, with crisp articulation and yet plenty of air and space in the phrasing, and refreshingly versatile in matters of style. Even their espousal of old-fashioned bluegrass mode (as on tunes like Falls Of Richmond) comes with a subtle modern twist that genially confounds preconceptions. The original tunes (especially the deftly configured Luisa) possess a natural, easygoing quality to complement their light virtuosity, which is all very appealing, and the self-penned songs are of a high standard too (although one or two of the vocals seem possibly a touch underpowered by comparison). Closing selection Sing A Song For You proves tenderly winning and in exactly the right place to provide uplift and comfort.

It's impossible to come away from this disc with anything but positive vibes, in fact, although these are of the gentler "yeah!" variety of satisfaction rather than the massively airpunching, riotously foot-tapping kind. That's not in any way to underplay Clark & Zuppardi's considerable appeal.

David Kidman