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Hannah's Yard Hannah's Yard
Album: Beginnings
Label: Superphonix
Tracks: 14

I first heard Hannah Layton Turner sing last year and tweeted her to say how much I liked her song "Close Enough." She subsequently contacted me to ask if I would review her new album. Whilst this is very flattering, it is the fifth time that an artist has done this to me, it does put a certain amount of pressure on the reviewer. What happens if I hate the album? What do I write?

Well, I had no need to worry. In this case as with all the other four, I have loved the albums sent to me. That takes a bit of pressure off and affords me the opportunity to sit back, relax, listen and write.

I thought that Hannah's first single was a real delight. It was classy and delivered with a voice that belies her young age. She is only just 20 now but sounds so much more mature yet still retaining a delightful innocence to her vocals.

Hannah's music is a mix of many genres. It is not pop, it is not folk and it is not country or jazz, although it contains elements of all of these.

All but two of the songs on "Beginnings" have been written by Barnaby Pinney and/or James Reader who also play and sing on the album. The two exceptions are "Make Your Mind Up" which features Hannah's vocals recorded at the age of fifteen and "Amazing Grace" written in the 1770's. I have to confess that I do not like this song and never have. It has been destroyed by so many singers, Judy Collins apart, although Hannah's version has made me think again about it; her voice suiting perfectly the emotion of the song.

The rest of the album is quite simply an absolute delight. Beautifully produced with subtle uncomplicated backing! In addition to Barnaby and James, the other musicians on the album are: Pete Callard, Michael Curtis Ruiz and Jim Fleeman all of whom deserve a mention for contributing to such a classy piece of work.

The opening track is "Why Would I Know" an upbeat song which sets the scene for what is to follow. I loved "Close Enough" when I first heard it and still do. "Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry" brings the pace right down. It is also the track that best shows Hanna's vocal qualities off to their best. "I Want You" introduces a touch of jazz with an intro reminiscent of Michael Buble. "Here and Now" is a duet with Barnaby whose voice sits perfectly with Hannah's. "You Work It Out" is a deliciously piano backed song which just makes me shiver such is the quality of both the vocals and the simple piano.

I think that is more than enough said to give any prospective listener a taste of what to expect from "Beginnings." I guarantee anyone that likes a real touch of class in their music collection will appreciate the pure, natural beauty of this album and Hannah's vocals.

Rory Stanbridge