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ROB MURCH "Still fretting - English Banjo Music" Veteran VT 146 CD

There appears to be renewed interest in classic English banjo playing, with three simulating releases recently from Howard and Steve Yates, Ray Andrews and now Rob Murch.

If you are not familiar with this style of banjo music it can best be described as finger style playing with its emphasis on 'classical' and 'refined drawing room styles'. It also embraces the American, it was much influenced by the travelling minstrel shows that were popular in the 19TH Century, and European dance music. Pieces especially composed for banjo by the likes of Joe Morley 1861-1937, Emile Grimshaw 1880-1943, and many more together with some traditional items form the largest part of the classic English banjo style repertoire.

Rob Murch is a much respected musician in both the classic style and in the field of traditional folk music. He is a member of the famed Pixie band from Dartmoor and also performs as a trio with Mark Bazeley and Jason Rice. On 'Still Fretting' Rob plays a fine selection of tunes from the banjo repertoire but gives each his own exciting individual interpretation and takes the banjo to new heights. He is joined on some tracks by Mark and Jason. The music is lively and happy, played with great skill and precision.

For the enthusiast of the banjo this is a real treat, but, if like some you are generally not impressed by the instrument give this CD a listen and have your mind changed. Different, skilful and very enjoyable. A gem from the commendable Veteran label.

Danny Saunders

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.