Winter WilsonWinter Wilson
Album: Cutting Free
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 14

I've always said that the phrase, 'best kept secret', is more of a curse than a blessing, but if you're in a position where you're on to your seventh release then either there's been more than a few people blabbing or you've taken vanity and ego to a new level and I don't think the latter applies to either Kip Winter or Dave Wilson, better known collectively as Winter Wilson.

I couldn't help but think the title was a dig at one of folk music's great accordion players and consequently session players, Andy Cutting, what with the accordion being Kip Winter's instrument of choice, well if you discount her incredible voice, but I knew that it wouldn't be. What it is, is a statement about throwing off the shackles that hold us back and takes its title from what turned out to be one of may favourite tracks on the album, "I'm Cutting Free".

With one exception, "The Field Behind Our House", the songs on the album were all penned by the duo's guitarist Dave Wilson, though "Common Form" is a reworking of the Kipling poem of the same name and as strong an anti war song as you'll find anywhere and a fitting tribute to way of 14-18. Winter is an observational songwriter with a fair turn of phrase, one that allows him to get into the heart of an issue, regardless of it being personal issues or wider tracts such as social justice and age discrimination.

"Cutting Free" is unashamedly a folk album, in both styling and content, but it also happens to be easily accessible, drawing predominantly on the contemporary side of the genre, which allows it to sit very comfortably within folk's third wave.

More than anything, "Cutting Free" is a story album, populated with short vignettes of modern life, it also feels very human and that makes it easy to relate to. If by best kept secret, it means held within the folk world, this may be the one that allows them to reach a wider audience, because songs of this quality deserve to be heard. This is English folk music that deserves to be celebrated because the songs are strong, the themes universal and the performance top draw.

Neil King