Fat City Records [Release date 16.09.16]
The one thing you’re assured of with a Chris While and Julie Matthews release – Shoulder To Shoulder is their tenth studio album – is some of the finest folk music and female singing this country has to offer.
With 22 years of musical partnership, the former Albion Band duo share lead vocals seamlessly, the other providing the perfect harmony foil. No airs, no graces just a rare purity of performance. It’s no matter of chance that they were winners of the Best Duo at the 2009 BBC2 Folk Awards, and have been nine times nominees since 2001.
Shoulder To Shoulder sees them continuing to push the ‘folk’ boundaries straying into fields that might, across the pond, be better described as Americana – the upbeat ‘Here It Comes Again’ has an almost Police-like beat, ‘Pride’ could so easily be a Billboard hit for someone like Shawn Colvin, the percussive ‘Tree Of Life’ has soulful, almost gospel strains, and ‘Nothing Yanks My Chain (Like You Do)’ provides a hint of the blues.
The musicianship and production also merit comment. The former – provided by a supporting cast of Neil Fairclough (bass), Neil Marshall (drums), Johnny Heyes (guitars), and Danny Hart (fiddle and banjo) is the perfect example of how to not overcomplicate things – every note counts. And the self-production provides a stunning level of clarity and detail.
Whether to your musical taste or not, it’s impossible not to be moved by a record of this quality. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
The latest Josh Taerk live session was streamed on Sunday 26 September. This marked the start of a new monthly series. Josh’s next session is Sunday 31 October.
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 26 September 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.
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Featured Albums w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TAO Prophecy (Tarot Label Media)
12:00-13:00 LEVERAGE Above The Beyond (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 JOE TILSTON Tightrope (Our Records)
Power Plays w/c 18 October 2021 (Mon-Fri)
ABOVE SNAKES Nothing To Lose (indie)
FRANKIE AND THE WITCH FINGERS Cookin’ (Greenway Records)
LEADFINGER The Fall Of Rome (Golden Robot)
FEMEGADES Stealing Numbers (Regent Street Records)
TIGERSIDE Any Contact (indie)
INDYA Love Like Champagne (indie)
EDGE OF DESTINY Forsaken (indie)
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