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Marion FleetwoodMarion Fleetwood
Album: Holding Space
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

After long involvement in various live and recorded music projects, among them Meet On The Ledge, Gerry Colvin Band (formerly ColvinQuarmby), The Jigantics and more recently folk-rock supergroup TRADarr, Marion considered dues paid and time for her debut solo album.

Even with such strong roots "Holding Space" opens boldly with a song originally written in 1967 by Sandy Denny. 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes", Marion's vocal lifting her subtle interpretation while faithfully tracing Sandy's original rather than the rockier version of Fairport Convention.

Sex as lead theme creeps into many genre of song, "The Linden Tree" complete with birdsong hinting that knowledge of desire and temptation found equally in both sexes.

"Shakespeare's Sonnet", lyric by colleague Dr Paul Edmondson, Head of Education at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The association with Stratford continued with debut performance of the song at Anne Hathaway's Cottage.

"Holding Space" offers blend of traditional song beautifully illustrated on "Broken Things" and complemented by Marion's own originals. Marion recognising that this being her nearest to a true cover (written by Julie Miller) pays homage of superb harmonies in a version by musicians, Chris and Kellie While.

Returning to album sequence and tale of curse from the grave benefiting from creepy addition of synthesiser "The Rose And The Lily", highlights Marion's skill in song arrangement. Sad recall in "Try To Imagine" of the futility and loss of war, further bleakness in the multi-layered string (16 plus solo violin) instrumental "Lament For The Funeral Of George V".

Marion's haunting arrangement of "Silver Dagger/Marion MacLean Of Eoligarry", the latter forming the middle section and used by the kind permission of it's author Colin Melville after discovery on social media.

"The Curve Of My Back" reveals in stories Marion imagines throughout the live of a 1901 mandolin gifted to her. A journey through time to lift one's spirit following the proceeding downbeat settings. Starkness and sex entwines on "I Am Stretched Upon Your Grave" whispers reference Marion's childhood and poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyse.

"Nobody's Fault But Mine" gospel/roots tinged allows room once again for much plaudited vocals to shine upon work where Marion has also provided all instrumentation. Just example of why Marion has become a go to session musician both live and on albums, as well as in her own right.

Tony Wilding