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Hicks And Goulbourn Hicks And Goulbourn
Album: Immortal
Label: Striatum
Tracks: 11
Website: http://www.hicksandgoulbourn.com

If you're a luthier as Steve Hicks is, one great way of getting your art appreciated is getting the sound of your creations heard and what better way is there to do that then to have them strongly featured on an album, especially one of your own creation?

If that's raising trepidation, fear not, "Immortal" is not an album of guitar noodlings, absolutely not, it's an album full of rich songs and played without frontiers, by which I mean the duo, the aforementioned Steve Hicks and Lynn Goulbourn, who takes on most of the vocal duties, don't nail their colours to any particular mast, rather meander across the acoustic spectrum. This is brought home from the start, with their jazz infused version of "House Of The Rising Sun".

Similarly this is not an album purely of interpretation, the album also features it's fair share of introduction bringing fresh songs to you for your aural delight and listening diligence, but it's not an album without consistency, Hicks fingerpicking guitar style is beautifully matched by Goulbourn's passionate singing, that seems to share a phrasing style not dissimilar to that of Maddy Prior, though with a different timbre.

The guitar sound is an absolute delight, Hicks shows himself to be a luthier of some great talent, but it doesn't dominate, it provides a great structure for Goulbourn to wrap her vocals around to create songs that are deceptively simple. It allows the album to pull you in and really feel the music that cloaks around you.

The title track "Immortal" is a tribute to the luthier's art, taking us on the journey from tree, to guitar, to song and it works as a metaphor for the whole album, as the songs take us through both dark and light as well as with a little humour. Guitars are meant to be played, songs are meant to be sung and finding that balance leads to an enjoyment that can take you out of the mundane into a place that provides escape. Well worth checking out.

Neil King