"I always wished that audiences could meet some of the people that I learnt from; they were such characters". This show feels as if we are letting those people speak". For Kathryn Tickell, the music of her native Northumberland has always been about more than the instruments, the tunes, the songs. It is a culture born from the landscape, the history and most importantly the people. It is something that has manifested itself in a career that has spanned nearly thirty years, no matter what aspect of traditional music Tickell has visited since her arrival as a teenager. Now, however, that element to Kathryn's music is being explored as never before. Northumberland Voices is a live show that has sprung from the humblest of beginnings into one of the most ambitious and well received projects of her career. It stemmed from the discovery of a number of cassette tapes, recordings of conversations from key characters from Kathryn's past and a method by which she had learnt the tunes that would form such a large part of her repertoire. Yet there were more to these tapes than just music, they contained stories of and insight into the past and future of the place she continues to call home. The idea wasn't without problems, however, with many of the recordings of too poor a quality for anything other than home use. Someone would be needed to read the words on stage and, much as Kathryn tried to ignore it, the obvious answer was her own father Mike. Thus with a band spanning three generations (and an armchair for Tickell Snr to tell his stories from), Nothumberland Voices was born. The tour would take the group across the UK, performing a mixture of a musical concert and stage show (directed by Annie Rigby). Those original recordings would make an appearance at points but otherwise this was the sound of yet another brave new move from one of the country's most imaginative traditional musicians. Now the results are available to all in the shape of her new album. Based on the live show, with a few additions to the sound, Northumberland Voices does exactly what Kathryn Tickell had hoped for all along giving the people who have influenced her music and way of thinking a wider voice. We think they would approve.
#12 - Album Of The Year --fRoots Critics Poll