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CRUCIBLE "Changeling" WILDGOOSE RECORDS WGS315CD

Crucible are two young couples currently coming out of Sheffield, probably to a folk club near you. Their vocal and instrumental skills enable them to deliver traditional music and song from all corners of the folk spectrum, and they explore a wide variety of vocal and instrumental combinations with great success. Basically, the gentlemen (Richard Arrowsmith and Gavin Davenport) play squeezeboxes and guitar while the ladies (Jess Arrowsmith and Helena Reynolds) play fiddles and border pipes, and all four have obviously spent the last few years doing little else.

Most of the 13 tracks are song-based, and the majority of those songs come from the English Tradition apart from a mighty Sacred Harp hymn, a similar Simon Heywood re-working of Psalm 29 and the title track, written within the band in a traditional style. With four individual and distinctive voices to work with, Crucible are able to ring countless changes from solo unaccompanied to four-part harmony, and given their undeniable instrumental virtuosity, it's safe to say that the world is their oyster. "Changeling" is an exciting and satisfying debut from a young quartet steeped in The Tradition up to their ears and beyond. Catch them if you can, they should go far.

Alan Rose

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