Americana UK – The Innocent Left

18th November 2015

Production: Americana UK
Author: John Hawes
  • 9/10 – Brilliant release from English Folk Duo’The Innocent Left’ is the third album from English folk duo Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts and I will be amazed if it does not feature highly at forthcoming folk awards.They make record making as easy as one-two-three. First up you have their voices. Although Roberts sings lead on the songs he wrote and Gilmore on hers, they are always in harmony; never in competition. Then you have the playing. Their primary instruments; guitar and fiddle, are always to the fore but they added a stella range of guest musicians to back them. Tom Chapman from the Urban Folk Quartet plays drums and Ben Nicholls from Seth Lakeman’s band plays double bass and the combine making a powerful, driving rhythm section. The Fratellis’ Will Foster adds piano; sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell – collectively Larkin Poe – provide backing vocals plus slide work and mandolin.Finally, there are the songs. 90% are original with only their arrangement of the Child ballad ‘False Night’ being traditional. Roberts’ ‘Louis Was A Boxer’ and ‘The Stealing Arm’ (from where the albums title is taken) are both exceptional as is Gilmore’s ‘Doctor James’ the telling of the story of pioneering army surgeon Dr James Barry. Of course a folk album wouldn’t be a folk album without a couple of instrumentals and ‘Seven Left For Dead’ and ‘Over Snake Pass’ are as far away from the tedious sets of jigs and reels you would normally get. Modern English folk music does not get better than this.
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