Album review: RUTH NOTMAN & SAM KELLY – Changeable Heart

RUTH NOTMAN & SAM KELLY – Changeable Heart

Pure Records [Release date 15.03.19]

In young folk terms this is a bit of a star studded collaboration, with former BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award finalist Ruth Notman making a return to making music (she took time out to complete a medical sciences degree and is now a Physician Associate), joining Sam Kelly, who fronts the Lost Boys and guested on other folk artists’ albums. Damien O’Kane produced the album, as well as providing various guitars and banjo.

They give a fresh musical to ‘The Cunning Cobbler’, a song with plenty of innuendo and a plot that comes straight from a bedroom farce, that staple of theatres in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Their versions of Ewan MacColl’s ‘School Days Over’ and Paul Brady’s ‘The Island’ are simply stunning, as their voices complement each other so well.

Their self-penned title track packs a bit of punch, being a fine piece of pop folk (traditionalists look away now at that matching of two musical genres!), driven along by piano and lively guitar playing. Notman’s ‘As You Find Your Way Home’ is a gentler tune, highlight both her singing and piano accordion playing.

The world of folk music really is experiencing a musical boom, with plenty of talented younger performers keeping both the interpretation of traditional songs alive and well, along with adding their own songs. Ruth Notman and Sam Kelly fall into this category and ‘Changeable Heart’ will delight their existing fans and doubtless win them many new ones. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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