Rob Harbron is a well-known figure on the English Folk Scene. Whether it is playing with Fay Hield and the Hurricane Party or as part of the exceptional Leveret with Sam Sweeney and Andy Cutting, Rob has added his understated concertina to some truly exceptional collaborations. His latest is with fiddle player Emma Reid. Brought up in England, Emma learnt fiddle from her Swedish mother and has gone on to immerse herself in the music of both her homelands.
What I particularly enjoyed about this album was the songs. Rob's rich vocals are really suited to the concertina and fiddle accompaniment. The first song, Master Kilby, came from the Full Enlgish archive. Pretty Saro comes from the singing of Bruce Molsky and opens a very American inspired set. I had never considered the concertina in the context of American music but the combination of concertina and fiddle works brilliantly and this is a fantastic set, with a laid back groove.
Picking a stand out set in an album of brilliant music is impossible. The strong rhythmic impetus in the opening waltz sets the tone for the album with predominantly dance driven repertoire. Camberwell is an intricately arranged set with constant contrapuntal interaction between the concertina and fiddle, giving it an almost baroque style. The set of four polkas is a flamboyant and joyful set that really shows off the skills of both musicians.
Overall, this is a highly accomplished album with a fantastic assortment of tunes, traditional and original. Whether performing together or with any of their other numerous projects, both Emma and Rob are delightful musicians to listen to and this is an excellent snap shot of their work together.
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