My interest in folk music is limited but growing and whilst this initially seemed a step too far for me it has grown to be one of my most regularly played album of the last six months. I'm no expert but the style seems older medieval folk meets church hymn with a set of sad, melancholy, accepting yet beautiful songs.
The music the duo produce is pretty with Paul Hutchinson playing accordion and giving the songs an atmospheric base with Paul Sartin playing violin or oboe to add much of the sparkling decoration to Hutchinson Christmas tree (analogy failure? Sorry). There is a lot of singing and this is undertaken by Sartin but fear not, there's no esoteric nasal, high pitched, hey nonny nonny or Blackadderesque voice but a great straight solid sound with a lovely tone.
I think the concept is clearly for a winter song book. There are several song with specific Christmas references and, I got away with playing one at work in my Christmas compilation along with Slade and Sleigh Ride. There is a certain chill to the songs with sad undertone with one slight incongruous funny song but that good too.
There may only be 8 songs on here but you not short changed as some are very long and the total running time is about 45 minutes. I've seen them live and they make a great double act, very funny but also very skilled musicians. Some of their other albums much funnier with interesting song divertions, and whilst I do like them, this is my favourite. Great to relax too.
A quick(ish) summary of the songs
1 - Cherry Tree Carol/Yuleogy
Huge atmosphere from the accordion here with, beautifully solemn singing, subtle violin adornments and some stronger melody on the oboe as I assume it swicthed to the Yuleogy. Nativity story is initially told through by Joseph. My second favourite on the album.
2 - King Herod and the Cock/Parson's Farewell
Very medieval jolly tune. Nice base hook(?) on the accordion.
3 - Tommorow Shall Be My Dancing Day
Perhaps a more recent English sounding folk song.
4 - Masquerade Royal/ As Joseph Was A-Walking
Slow sad tune. Nice oboe.
5 - Lonesome Scenes of Winter
Great tune on the accordion here. Slow
6 - Gerald Road Mazurkas/Sans Day Carol
Again perhaps a more recent english sound folk song. Nice violin and a bit of drums.
7 - One Cold Morning in December
The amusing one that sounds rather like a stripped back Victorian musical hall song. Story of a naive man's encounters with a "real beauty" who "does his duty with out asking why".
8 - Hampshire Mummers' Song
My favourite, glum harmonies a little drive with a bit of rhythm. "When another Christmas come we not all be here." Bitter lyrics but Sweet music.