Ralph McTell isn't very well known on these shores but in England he's revered as a saint of the United Kingdom folk movement. The guy released a number of LPs, and his songs have been fairly well covered by others. Thus, when he recommends someone, it only stands to reason we're talking about exceptional achievement in the genre. Well, he's speaking up for the Carrivick twins and has plenty of reason to.
Charlotte and Laura Carrivick are musical prodigies, playing almost everything on this CD: guitar, mandolin, clawhammer banjo, dobro, cello, and fiddle as well as covering the vocals. Only two cuts usher in a guest artist, yet each track sounds like a spontaneous and long-rehearsed ensemble of top drawer players, so well do the two know precisely what they want to say in each song. Every number is quite traditional, though only two compositions are actually taken from the olden catalogue, the rest written by one or both of the sisters.
The air here is at one with what Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Fotheringay, and other Brit folk-madrigal groups were doing in more fidelitous genre moments, and the girls have even opened for such acts as Curved Air, the legendary progrock band. Later this year, they'll be touring with Eliza Carthy, Martin Simpson, and McTell himself, yet here's what's really intriguing: both are deeply in love with American bluegrass, their true root of inspiration though it sounds otherwise due to the riveting fusion of the two cultures. We've seen this before in rock and blues, and the result of such trans-Atlantic exchanges has always been extremely profitable.
That's the case here. Your ears will deceive you, and you'll swear you've heard the songs previously, but you haven't. Then you'll quickly warm to the common ground in their nuanced flawless playing. Next, you'll be sitting enraptured, floating in a pool of balmily familiar waters just like the koi fish in the very cool cover painting provided by…have you guessed it?…yep, the Carrivick Sisters. Is there anything these young ladies can't do?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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