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THULBION - "Twilight Bound" Greentrax CDTRAX088

Thulbion play mostly traditional Shetland tunes and some newly written tunes in a complimentary style. Front and centre is the silvery sound of Judi Nicholson's fiddling. She's got a flowing, full-bodied tone and a strong rhythmic drive. Violet Tulloch's piano playing alternates between thumpy dance-tune accompaniments and gentle chordal harmonies on the slow airs. The guitarist, Andrew Tulluch and Ian Nicholson on piano accordion are less prominent, but no less competent. One of my favourite cuts is a medley of pipe tunes which includes "John D. Burgess," "Major Nickerson's Fancy" and "Dick Gossip's Reel." The middle tune is especially ear-catching because the fiddle does a solo turn on this lively melody. She adds grace notes that echo the bagpipes. On the second pass, the accordion slips in with a terrific harmony line. Another fetching track is the slow air "Annie" by the late Shetland fiddler Willie Hunter. Opening with a moody guitar and accordion intro, the bittersweet melody and the subdued reverb conspire to tug on your heart strings. The arrangement gets a little cluttered in the middle, but that's a minor complaint. For a change of pace, there are three sweet American waltzes. Judi plays them in a Texas long-bow style that highlights their American accent. The guitar on this track has a hint of a Western twang, but the accordion is still in the Shetland Isles, which makes for an interesting fusion. In addition to her fiddling talents, Judi composed a pair of melodious cuts in a pensive style, suitably named "Twilight," and "Time for Thought." These blend in well with the other selections on this CD. Taken all together it's a good recording, not to be missed by fiddle fans.

Elaine Bradtke

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This album was reviewed in Issue 12 of The Living Tradition magazine.