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Miranda Sykes & Rex PrestonMiranda Sykes & Rex Preston
Album: The Watchmaker's Wife
Label: Hands On Music
Tracks: 11

Beautiful things, the double bass of flame headed Miranda, familiar as core part of Show Of Hands and Rex (sometimes found as alternate duo pairing with Greg Russell) offer new release as duo Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston, a partnership reaching turning point that celebrates six years with third album. 'The Watchmaker's Wife', inadvertent delivery of tales centred on love and loss, a collection of old songs, originals crafted by Rex includes among the eleven songs fresh interpretation of melody dating to the Napoleonic wars.

Stripped back in acoustic take of Miranda s' double bass and mandolin/bouzouki and tenor guitar of Rex, absent are guest musicians and multi-track wizardry display willingness to recreate album in it's fullness on stage. Song-writing also benefits from the pen of Chris Difford on desolate story and title song 'The Watchmaker's Wife'. Such is their stature Boo Hewerdine also contributes loan of 'S.A.D', features fine interplay between double bass and mandolin. Rendition further graced with Rex on lead vocal, who also composer of the jaunty 'Rosie'. Broken hearted lament 'Bonnie Light Horseman', descending from the Napoleonic wars , verses cherry picked from various renditions heads charge to sate traditionalists. Captivating arrangement together with Miranda s' fulfils task.

Other Rex Preston originals, recurring theme of love, loss and parting unhurried on 'Leaving Song'. '(Insert Name)'s Waltz' an instrumental repeating the duo's virtuosity, deep bowed bass allowing room for dashing finger work on mandolin to showcase. Taking a bow 'Exiles Return' John Doyle s' promise to meet again. Acknowledged as one of the finest live duo's on the English folk/roots, "The Watchmaker's Wife".

Tony Wilding