I've been following Gilmore & Robert's career since picking up their first album at a Kerfuffle gig three or four years ago. It's always been a pleasure listening to their music - it leaves you assured that that the future of folk is in safe hands.
While their first two albums have been a good listen, this third offering is in another league. No doubt the addition of an external producer has helped but I think mostly it's just the maturity of the song writing that really shines through on this disk. Katriona in particular has always had the ability to write songs with a wisdom much older than her years (check out the wonderful 'travelling in time' from their first album.) This time, however, Jamie has matched her with the thoughtful 'Louis' (which is just asking, by the way, to be covered by Show of Hands, sung by Phil), whilst she, in response, has come up with her best set of songs yet - 'Dr James,', 'Shuffle and Deal' and 'Letters.'
This is a folk album with everything - historical stories ('Dr James'), commentary on people ('Louis'), songs about life ('Letters' & 'Shuffle & Deal'), well played tunes ('Seven Left For Dead' & 'Over Snake Pass) , a dry sense of humour ('Scarecrow', 'Silver Screen' and 'The Stealing Arm') and even a version of a traditional song ('False Knight'). It's an absolute joy to listen to.
My only worry is the timing of the release of the CD - coming as it does amongst a whole raft of releases from some of folk's 'heavyweights' - Show of Hands, Bellowhead, Lau. I hope it doesn't get lost in some people's sights as a result - because, really, this is one of the best folk albums I have purchased in a very long time. If they're not nominated in at least 3 categories in the next BBC folk awards (Best Album, Best Duo and Best Song - probably for Dr James) it will be a travesty.
This third offering from the talented duo is literally red-hot (well my copy anyway since it rarely stops spinning in the cd player - if only I could find a way to harness that kinetic energy, I could maybe reduce the electricity bill!) Well presented in a tri-fold cardboard sleeve, it certainly doesn't come in the box marked "folk" only, contemporary folk fans are in for a treat BUT Gilmore and Roberts are a homegrown talent that should appeal to a broad spectrum of bluegrass and Americana fans too, especially on the track "Shuffle and Deal" with a transatlantic contribution by guest artists Larkin Poe. This album, their first for Navigator Records, see them moves away from self-production and the extra production budget shines through, while taking nothing from their exceptional musical skills and vocal talents. Comprising of self-penned, thought provoking songs interspersed with foot-tapping/foot-stomping instrumental tracks and one traditional cover, if you should own only one album by this duo, make it this one - although I defy anyone who likes this latest offering to not dig out their back catalogue promptly!
I first saw Gilmore Roberts when they were the support act for Fairport Convention in 2011. I was so blown away by them that I bought their two CD's there and then. I was lucky to see them on tour this September at The Slaughtered Lamb for the launch of their new album The Innocent Left. All their albums are great but this one is definitely their best. It's more rounded, polished, with haunting tracks like Shuffle & Deal and heartbreaking Letters. They write beautiful, soulful songs, observing life and people around them and putting it down in words and music, an incredibly talented duo. This is definitely my album of the year! Highly recommended.
I love this album - it is so full of interest and refreshingly original. The opening track, a poignant song about a Scarecrow demonstrates this well, with a great guitar riff, strong vocals from Roberts and strong support from Gilmore on fiddle and viola. The duo are not afraid to take risks - all the tracks, bar one, are self penned and tackle a variety of subject matter from gambling addiction, a brain-damaged boxer and a soldier who has a replacement arm from a thief after a battle injury. The Lovell sisters (Larkin Poe) guest on a number of tracks on the album; their blue grass playing is used to great effect on the song about gambling addiction, Shuffle and Deal, which has a very catchy hook. Other favourites include Doctor James about the life of the celebrated surgeon, Dr James Barry, who was found to be a woman, after her death; and The Stealing Arm but it is all wonderful - have played it non stop since I bought it. Gilmore & Roberts have been deservedly nominated for duo of the year in the 2013 Folk Awards - this is their third album and best yet.
Wonderful album - great musicianship, storytelling, a joy from beginning to end. I discovered this long after it's release but better late than never and it has become on of my favourite albums. So glad I have this in my collection.
I was privileged to catch them at Thirsk on their UK tour having first seen them supporting Fairport in York a year or two ago. They are great song writers and musicians. I was a bit late in getting their third album. Love the melancholic Shuffle and Deal about the compulsion and denial of the protagonist. Hope to catch them again when they're up in N. Yorshire in the summer.
Good songs and interesting ballads but above all else just a fine cd to chill out and reflect with. Katriona and Jamie make a fine mix that meld seamlessly and sometimes it's hard to think that such a full sound comes from basically just the two of them.
I first heard these two at The Bristol Folk Festival a few years ago now and I liked the unusual guitar playing and both singing voices. This is my second album I have bought by them and I really like the music, which is quite varied.