It’s turning out to be a good year for Katriona Gilmore (fiddle, vocals) and Jamie Roberts (guitar, vocals). A nomination for the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award will have enhanced their growing reputation, and this second full-length album will surely surely cement it.
A well-balanced collection of traditional and contemporary songs and tunes, Up From The Deep shows that Gilmore and Roberts are maturing as both musicians and writers. They have their roots in the Biriths tradition although Gilmore is also clearly influenced by Americana, as is evident on tracks such as ‘Tennessee Green’ and ‘Off To California’ (featuring the bluegrass banjo of Cia Cherryholmes), while Roberts’s writing is firmly rooted in an English tradition and has echoes of both Steve Knightley and Seth Lakeman.
The stripped-back sound allows them space to shine individually and in concert and shows them to possess a mutual understanding that, with contributions from Jack Theedom’s double bass and PJ Wright’s pedal steel, brings both the traditional and self penned into sharp fpocus. Of the latter, Gilmore’s disarmingly honest expose of life on the road, ‘No Rest For The Wicked’, and the ghostly goings on of ‘Fleetwood Fair’ stand out alongside Roberts’s cautionary ‘All I’ve Known’ and the moving ‘The Bookseller’s Story’, all of which bodes well for this talented duo.