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Tarras "Walking Down Main Street" Topic TSCD524

Since 1999s acclaimed debut recording Tarras have undergone a number of musical and personnel changes. One thing, which has thankfully endured these changes, is the unique sound of the Border Country, apparent throughout large sections of the album. Although still a very young band, 'Walking Down Main Street' is the product of great maturity. Of the ten tracks that make up this CD, half are self-penned, rightfully earning their place alongside the arrangements they've given to an interesting array of traditional tunes and songs.

The core trio of Joss Clapp (vocals, guitar and bass), Ben Murray (vocals, keyboards and whistle) and Jon Redfern (vocals, guitar and percussion) remains unchanged. The most notable development being Clapp's fully accomplished guitar style fluttering in and out of the arrangements like a hyperactive hummingbird, bringing to mind Jansch and Renbourn's Pentangle era. This likeness is most apparent on 'Ye Mariners/Cajun Malaysian'; a traditional song followed by a new tune that wouldn't be out of place on, say, 'Basket of Light'.

Although this album is an extremely accomplished piece of work, I feel that the weight of expectation upon their shoulders may be a little too much, too soon. Claims that they are set to rejuvenate and reinvent the English folk canon are probably a little premature.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 44 of The Living Tradition magazine.