A Handful of Sky

by Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll

Nick and Becki are two outstanding fiddle players composing and re-interpreting traditional tunes. They also sing some great songs using their inventive playing as accompaniment.

Nick Wyke - Vocals, fiddle and viola

Becki Driscoll - Vocals, fiddle, viola, and bassoon

James Budden - Double bass

Ellen Driscoll - French horn



Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll are highly respected musicians, composers and workshop leaders from North Devon. They first collaborated as a fiddle duo on a busking trip around Spain and Portugal. Since then, they have made a strong impact on the British folk scene and received national and international acclaim.

Their passion for English traditional music and the violin has led to the development of their unique style. Becki's melodic, emotive violin and viola blend with Nick's driving fiddle chords and powerful vocals to create a rich, captivating sound.

"...lovely, inventive playing" fRoots

The duo's compositions and their interpretations of traditional English tunes and songs are influenced by a wide range of musical cultures: "We are inspired by the people we meet and the places we've been. We like the idea of a global approach to the English tradition."

" ...passionate musicality and distinctive presence." The Living Tradition

As well as performing, Nick & Becki's work varies from recording symphonic string arrangements for the Angel Brothers to running community group 'The Folk orchestra of North Devon' for Wren Music.

"...a superb advert for English music" The Folk Mag

Becki Driscoll started playing folk and traditional music in her home town of Bridport with ceilidh band Sundance and went on to study community music in Liverpool. Since moving back to the South West she has been working for Wren Music, running music workshops throughout Devon. Becki composes many of the new tunes for the duo, drawing on her interest and knowledge of traditional English and Western European music for inspiration. Her other work has included playing with The Angel Brothers, accompanying Mick Groves from the Spinners and playing fiddle for a Country and Western show at Butlins!

Nick Wyke has lived in North Devon for as long as he can remember! He plays fiddle, guitar, bass and sings. After training with Wren Music as a community musician, Nick began to explore the traditional fiddle-music of the area, particularly the tunes of William Andrew of Dartmoor. He writes many of the arrangements for the duo and is usually found happily chugging away on the chords...

Aside from his work with Becki, Nick plays fiddle with Gadarene, and has worked with great musicians including Jim Moray and Jackie Oates.

1 Rambleaway 
Trad. 
The version of this well-known song comes from the collection of folk songs by the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould. We have combined the words of James Parsons with Sam Fone's melody and added our own interpretation to the mix... 

2 Regent's Fete / Take a Dance / Darby Kelly / Cock of the North 
Trad. 
A set of traditional jigs. Regent's Fete is from the John Clare collection from 19th Century Northamptonshire. We initially arranged it for a fiddle workshop and enjoyed playing it so much we recorded it! Take a Dance is from John Offord's wonderful tune book "John of the Green, the Cheshire Way". Darby Kelly is a bit of a nod to Status Quo as they used this traditional tune in "Burning Bridges". Cock of the North is very well known with various rude words that go with it - we'll leave you to fill these in! 

3 A Handful of Sky 
Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll 
This piece was composed for a tour we did with The Angel Brothers, a percussion driven band that mixed roots music from all over the world and Doncaster. We wanted to write something that would contrast with the big line-up of the whole band but that would also compliment the rhythmic elements. The name was chosen by Richard Masters - a wonderful singer and songwriter who supported one of the gigs 

4 The Cornwall Apprentice 
Traditional 
This traditional song, also known as the Sheffield Apprentice, caught Nick's ear when he heard a version by American singer and banjo player Hedy West. It is a cautionary tale of the perils of moving to "that London!" 

5 The Bridgwater Hornpipe / The Dorchester Hornpipe 
Traditional 
Two fantastic hornpipes from the South West in wonderful keys of F and Bb. (Sorry melodeon players!) Becki finally gets to air the bassoon in this track. (Apologies also to all proper bassoonists!) 

6 The Cruel Mother 
Traditional 
This version of The Cruel Mother comes from Sydling St. Nicholas in Dorset. Sung by Mrs. Case, it was collected by Hammond and Gardiner and published in "Marrow Bones" in 1965 

7 Terra da Lua / John of Paris, The New Way 
Becki Driscoll / Traditional 
Becki wrote Terra da Lua after visiting her family in Brazil and being taken to a Bahian beach where the huge silvery sand dunes stretch for miles and look eerily like a lunar landscape. John of Paris is a slightly adapted version of a tune from the Joshua Gibbons manuscript from Lincolnshire. 

8 Bridge House 
Becki Driscoll 
Becki wrote this tune whilst living in Bridge House, an amazing dilapidated mansion on the edge of Sefton Park in Liverpool. The house was freezing in winter, most definitely haunted but had a timeless feel to it. Some good parties had there too! 

9 The Torrington Ringers 
Words - Traditional, adapted Wyke/Driscoll Melody - Becki Driscoll 
The words for this song came to us from the ex captain of the Torrington Bell Ringers but he couldn't remember the tune. We found a version of the same song in the Baring-Gould collection so blended the two together. Becki wrote the melody based on a six bell peal. 

10 Dance with Ease / The Dressed Ship 
Traditional 
Both of these tunes are from the 18th Century "Thomsons Compleat Collection of Country Dance tunes" 

11 Mrs Lovetts Pies / The Prince of Arabia 
Nick Wyke / Traditional, adapted Wyke/Driscoll 
Nick wrote the first tune after watching the TV movie "Sweeney Todd". The Prince of Arabia was originally a cheerful major tune from the William Winters collection in Somerset but we have slightly altered it! 

12 The Exmoor Ram 
Traditional 
The Exmoor version of this well known song was collected by Paul Wilson from Wren Music in the 1970s. A jolly sing-alongy chorus song to end the album! 
Rambleaway
The version of this well-known song comes from the collection of folk songs by the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould. We have combined the words of James Parsons with Sam Fone's melody and added our own interpretation to the mix...
Sample not available
Regent's Fete / Take a Dance / Darby Kelly / Cock of the North
A set of traditional jigs. Regent's Fete is from the John Clare collection from 19th Century Northamptonshire. We initially arranged it for a fiddle workshop and enjoyed playing it so much we recorded it! Take a Dance is from John Offord's wonderful tune book "John of the Green, the Cheshire Way". Darby Kelly is a bit of a nod to Status Quo as they used this traditional tune in "Burning Bridges". Cock of the North is very well known with various rude words that go with it - we'll leave you to fill these in!
A Handful of Sky
This piece was composed for a tour we did with The Angel Brothers
Sample not available
The Cornwall Apprentice
This traditional song
Sample not available
The Bridgwater Hornpipe / The Dorchester Hornpipe
Two fantastic hornpipes from the South West in wonderful keys of F and Bb. (Sorry melodeon players!) Becki finally gets to air the bassoon in this track. (Apologies also to all proper bassoonists!)
Sample not available
The Cruel Mother
This version of The Cruel Mother comes from Sydling St. Nicholas in Dorset. Sung by Mrs. Case
Sample not available
Terra da Lua / John of Paris
Becki Driscoll / Traditional
Sample not available
Bridge House
Becki wrote this tune whilst living in Bridge House
The Torrington Ringers
adapted Wyke/Driscoll Melody - Becki Driscoll
Dance with Ease / The Dressed Ship
Both of these tunes are from the 18th Century "Thomsons Compleat Collection of Country Dance tunes"
Sample not available
Mrs Lovetts Pies / The Prince of Arabia
adapted Wyke/Driscoll
Sample not available
The Exmoor Ram
The Exmoor version of this well known song was collected by Paul Wilson from Wren Music in the 1970s. A jolly sing-alongy chorus song to end the album!
Sample not available

Folk World

Alex Monaghan

A quintessentially English duo, this is not the sort of music I would usually review but their playing is so pure and their material is so unfamiliar that I couldn't resist. Wyke and Driscoll both play fiddle - in fact their website is EnglishFiddle.com - and their music comes mainly from around North Devon. This is their third album, not counting an early EP released in 2004, so they've been on the scene for a while, just not on my radar. What I like about A Handful of Sky is its reserve, its gentility: the music is "nice", perhaps too nice for some tastes, but it's rare indeed to find two such pleasant voices belonging to equally talented fiddlers. Between them the fiddles supply melody, harmony, rhythm and bass, almost all in a plain English style with just the occasional funky moment. Hornpipes, jigs, waltzes, airs and set dances come from old manuscripts and new adventures, with not an Irish reel to be heard, although one Scottish jig does sneak in. Most tunes are local, or local versions, that I hadn't heard before.

As well as seven sets of tunes, there are five songs here detailing the shadier side of English rural pursuits: robbery, adultery, infanticide, and even bellringing, but all in such good taste that Wyke & Driscoll can't even bring themselves to sing the word "balls". So, if you're in the mood from some relaxing English music, something to listen to while you read the paper or polish your handbells or pursue other English passtimes - or just as background music in the parlour when the vicar calls round - A Handful of Sky might be just the thing. The fiddling is unadorned but harmonious and tuneful, the singing is strong without being raucous, and the entire album is genteel enough for a garden party. Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll take a quite different approach to dance music and murder ballads than most English bands, which is quite refreshing, and their musicianship is impeccable.

Le Canard folk

Marc Bauduin

Un sympathique et inventif duo de violonistes anglais, du Devon. Becki se charge g�n�ralement de La ligne m�lodique au violon et � l'alto, tandis que Nick accompagne rythmiquement, parfois jouant comme d'une basse, parfois bourdonnant. Les deux chantent et composent. La majorit� des airs (instrumentaux et chansons) sont cependant traditionnels, et c'est un reel plaisir d'entendre ce folk typiquement anglais interpr�t� d'une mani�re personnelle, avec des clins d'oeil � d'autres styles

Folk Northwest

Derek Gifford

I have to admit that until I received this CD for review I'd never heard of Nick or Becki probably because they are based in the south-west and seldom venture this far north. This is a pity because, based on this album's performance, I'm sure they would  please audiences here in the north-west. They are both teachers of their instruments, violin and viola, and work extensively with The Folk Orchestra of North Devon and at Halsway Manor which gives you an idea of their pedigree.

They kick off with an interesting Devon version of Rambleaway collected by Baring-Gould in which Nick takes the lead vocals. There follows a set of traditional jigs which aptly shows their excellent instrumental skills. The title track, is also an instrumental called A Handful of Sky and was composed for a tour they did with The Angel Brothers. This is yet another fine piece of music and playing. A song The Cornwall Apprentice follows and then two lilting hornpipes in which Becky gets to play her 'second' instrument the bassoon! Becky then takes the lead vocal in a Dorset version of The Cruel Mother. My personal opinion is that this is probably the weakest track on the album because although Becky is a superb instrumentalist her singing voice, though tuneful, comes across as a little weak.

Interestingly from a northern perspective the slow tune Bridge House was composed by Becky whilst living in that place which is a dilapidated mansion on the edge of Sefton Park when she was studying community music in Liverpool a number of years ago. More tunes follow the song The Torrington Ringers in which the melody is based on a six bell peal. The album finishes with Becky leading the vocals (more forcefully this time!) on The Exmoor Ram a local version of the well known song.

This is a classy album and I can heartily recommend it to all you traditional music enthusiasts. Let's hope that Becky and Nick will make it to some northern gigs as I'd like to hear their live performances.

The album comes with the usual Wild Goose package of comprehensive sleeve notes and some fine photography and art work on the cover from Hilary Bix. It's available from Wild Goose, Proper Music Distribution or from Nick and Becky's own web site www.englishfiddle.com

Whats Afoot

Sue Hamer-Moss

What an excellently crafted CD this is! Each song has been diligently researched and carefully arranged. There is a lovely mixture of jolly toetapping tunes and atmospheric strings, with a generous North Devon flavour to the lyrics. Nick and Becki expertly mix their own compositions with arrangements of traditional songs resulting in a cohesive and eminently listenable-to CD.

The music is, however, much, much more than jolly tunes. It can be enjoyed on a more sophisticated level. Every single note is as clear as a bell. The deceptive simplicity of the arrangements enables each instrument to have an important part to play and gives the harmonies a balanced crispness, which is exquisite. Nick and Becki's expertise gives their sound a funfilled confidence. They play with a complete togetherness - exciting rhythms and subtle little key changes here and there - including the listeners in their fun but keeping them on their toes.

Each of the tracks has its own excellent reason for being enjoyable, so it is difficult to pick favourites. I particularly enjoyed the traditional medley of jigs, as there were so many different

musical surprises � not least the slightly tongue in cheek reference to Status Quo � although there

were at least 4 chords in Nick and Becki's version of �Burning Bridges� (aka 'Darby Kelly')! 'The

Cornwall Apprentice' is beautifully arranged, with strong, driving chords to match the vocals.

It's followed by a delicately played hornpipe set with its carefree play on rhythms and little key

changes, all supported by ultra-crisp bassoon from Becki. I defy you not to go round the house singing 'one, two, three, four, five, six' after listening to 'The Torrington Ringers'. The beautifully slow and slightly melancholy strings on title track, 'Handful of Sky' transport you to the top of a windswept hill with consummate ease, providing a brilliant contrast to the previous jolly jig track.

What I really appreciated about this album was the thoughtfulness in music and voice arrangements which complement the subject matter in each of the tracks, and the composition of the album as a cohesive whole, including Hilary Bix's imaginative cover.

With this CD, Nick and Becki extend an invitation to a personal music party � accept and enjoy!

Folk Roundabout

David Kidman

A Handful Of Sky is the third full-length album from this excellent West Country-based fiddle duo, and their second for WildGoose. As well as working in this format, of course, each of them has been branching out into other areas of musical activity � Nick working with Gadarene, Jackie Oates and Jim Moray and researching the fiddle music of his native North Devon, and Becki running workshops for Wren Music as well as playing for and with The Angel Brothers.

This is another of those CDs whose basic lineup belies the diversity of delivery and expression to be found within its grooves, for it's definitely not just the dry-sounding combination of two fiddles, however attractively they may be heard to consort! The range of tonal blends they conjure is clearly derived from years of working together, knowing and responsive, while their own arrangements are also invariably configured for maximum musical interest, mindful of each musician's particular qualities (Nick's characteristic driving force and Becki's gift for melodic invention.

As well as the standard fiddle, both Nick and Becki play viola, while Becky gets to air her talent on the bassoon on a delicious pair of South-Western hornpipes (track 5). Some tracks also benefit from a solid rhythmic bedrock supplied by James Budden's double bass. The purely instrumental selections comprise two-thirds of the dozen tracks, but it may come as a surprise to discover that the vocal numbers produce some of the disc highlights. Becki's precise, slightly chilling delivery of a Dorset version of The Cruel Mother provides an unexpected high watermark for the album; also very much present on this track, and on the chiming vocal duet The Torrington Ringers, is the delightful French horn playing of Ellen Driscoll (who I believe is Becki's sister). Becki also charms the listener on her rendition of The Exmoor Ram which rounds off the disc in suitably bouncy �jolly sing-alongy chorus� fashion.

All of the instrumental tracks possess that distinctive sense of complementary presence that's a hallmark of the Wyke-Driscoll musical partnership, and it's hard to single out any one selection for special praise, but I especially enjoyed the set of jigs (track 2) that concludes with the defiantly non-English Cock Of The North, and the invigorating Prince Of Arabia (track 11). This well-balanced disc will doubtless bring much pleasure to lovers of finely coordinated playing and singing.

EDS

Jacqueline Patten

Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll are highly respected fiddle-players, composers and performers whose roots are firmly in Devon from where they often draw creative inspiration. The material for this album, however, has been sourced from, or inspired by, places far and wide.  Just over half of the tracks are instrumental. Three of them are their own compositions, including the title track, 'A Handful of Sky', which was written for a project in Doncaster. Of the other self composed tunes, 'Bridge House' is an evocative tune written at a haunted house in which Becki stayed on the edge of Sefton Park, Liverpool, while 'Terra da Lua' transports the listener to Brazil and was inspired by a visit that Becki made to see relatives there. The latter is partnered by 'John of Paris', taken from a Lincolnshire manuscript, a combination that works amazingly well. The final, recently composed track is a light-hearted tune by Nick, 'Mrs Lovett's Pies,' inspired by Sweeney Todd, and twinned with 'The Prince of Arabia'. Other instrumental items include two hornpipes, a set of jigs, and two country dance tunes.

Both the opening and closing tracks are songs, with 'Rambleaway', an arrangement of a song in the Baring-Gould collection opening the album and 'The Exmoor Ram' concluding it. Throughout, the arrangements allow for a clear rendition, with words easily heard and the accompaniment played in a crisp and direct way however intricate the arrangement might be. Becki takes the vocal air on just one, 'The Cruel Mother', a version from Sydling St Nicholas, Dorset.  Other songs are 'The Cornwall Apprentice' and 'The Torrington Ringers'.  

Nick and Becki have the ability to engage their audience because of their joy in the tunes and songs. The arrangements are enhanced by James Budden on double bass and Ellen Driscoll on French horn, two instruments that add clarity.

fRoots

David Kidman

West-Country-based Nick and Becki are both well-regarded for their work with other musicians: Nick with Jackie Oates and Jim Moray as well as the band Gadarene, Becki with The Angel Brothers. However, it's their teaming as a duo which shows their instinctive and finely judged complementary musicianship to best advantage, and A Handful Of Sky, their third full-length duo record, is their most persuasive collection yet in that regard.

Considering the relatively limited tonal palette that one would imagine to be available with just two fiddles, Nick and Becki work miracles in varying the textures, their years of expertise in playing together being especially evident on sets like Regent's Fete and Mrs Lovett's Pies, and the animated medley of hornpipes (track five). As far as fiddles are concerned, both musicians also prove adept on the viola, while you may be surprised to discover that Becki has even taken up the bassoon!

Additionally, on some tracks Nick and Becki bring in double-bassist James Budden and / or French-horn player Ellen Driscoll, who boost the texture to entirely beneficial effect. Needless to say though, it's the driving force of the duo's own performances that provides the primary interest, and yet this sense of drive also characterises the disc's three vocal items, which do more than just provide interludes from the dancing and are definitely not the poor relation to the scintillating instrumental tracks. Becki turns in an excellent performance of the Cruel Mother ballad, while The Torrington Ringers is nicely done as a vocal duet.  

This well-balanced disc provides another very good example of producer Doug Bailey's uncanny knack for bringing out the best in the artists he selects for his label's roster.

Living Tradition

Dave Beeby

I must admit that Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll are names new to me, but what drew me to A Handful Of Sky was that it is released on the excellent WildGoose label. Usually releases under their banner are reliable and of good quality and this is no exception.

Based in North Devon, Becki and Nick have a love of traditional English music and of the fiddle, both of which are in evidence here. Nick plays fiddle and viola, as does Becki, who also throws in a bit of bassoon for good measure. Both share vocals and the sound is very English but with lots of other influences, all with emotive violin and viola arrangement. Credit must go to the production and recording skills of Doug Bailey for the clarity of the finished product.

Much of the music is traditional, arranged by the pair, whilst some is self penned of which A Handful Of Sky is a stand out track. The informative notes which accompany the CD say that it was composed whilst on tour with the amazing Angel Brothers. The Torrington Ringers, a traditional song adapted by Wyke/Driscoll with a melody by Becki, is one of those tracks you just can't get out of your head! They manage to breathe new life into some old favourites through exciting arrangements and quality of musicianship. With the exception of a bit of bass and French horn, you get what it says on the album - Nick and Becki.

There are no surprises here � just quality - although the real surprise is how much talent there is around. But to many of us that is no surprise really! A good album of English music by two good musicians.

www.englishfiddle.com

Around Kent Folk

Kathy and Bob Drage

Nick and Becki are highly respected musicians and singers from North Devon. This cd is a mix of traditional and self penned songs and they have a passion for English trad music with its interpretations. Their own compositions are influenced by a wide range of musical cultures, people they have met and places they have been. Here a global approach has been taken to the English tradition, songs   trad are 'Rambleaway', 'The Cornwall Apprentice', 'Cruel Mother', 'Torrington Ringers' and 'Exmoor Ram'. Tunes include 'The Dressed Ship', 'John of Paris', 'Bridgewater/Dorchester Hornpipes' and 'Regents Fete'. Self penned are the title track   lovely images, 'Terre da Lua'   silvery sand dunes looking like a lunar landscape in Brazil, 'Bridge House'  haunted house in Liverpool but great for parties, 'Mrs Lovetts Pies' written by Nick after watching Sweeney Todd!

Becki's melodic, emotive violin and viola blend with Nick's driving fiddle chords and powerful vocals to create a rich captivating sound. James Budden, double bass and Ellen Driscoll, french horn also play on some tracks. The whole cd is a superb compliment to English music which is passionate and distinctive.

Folk London

Ivan North

Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll describe themselves as `highly respected fiddleplayers and composers firmly rooted in North Devon. Their unique sound is a joyful collision of English traditional music and contemporary bowed strings. Their music blends melodic, emotive violin and viola with driving fiddle chords and powerful vocals and will take you on a journey from the dark side of the English ballad to toe tapping tunes and songs'.

Nick sings and also plays fiddle and viola, Becki does the same and also adds bassoon. On this CD they are joined by James Budden (double bass) and Ellen Driscoll (French horn).

Most of the material is trad and the opening track Rambleaway is a lively arrangement put together from several sources and features all the performers with Nick's lead vocals and Becki harmonising. Nick also tackles The Cornwall Apprentice which tells of the perils of moving to London. He also leads on The Torrington Ringers, another recreation of a trad song. Becki chips in with the ballad The Cruel Mother and finishes off the CD in style with the spirited The Exmoor Ram.

The instrumentals are either trad or written in the trad style and appear to be derived from their fiddle workshops, so feature arrangements based on the two fiddle format. There are bright jigs   one such set is Regent's Fete / Take a Dance / Darby Kelly / Cock of the North. A Handful of Sky is a self composed piece which starts off slow (and sounds as if it should have words) then builds up to lively finish.

Folk Monthly

Bob Bignell

A lesson learnt! Don't jump to conclusions! When this album landed on my doormat with a request to review it, seeing the picture of not one but two fiddle players on the back of the jewel case I assumed that I was in for fifty minutes or so of fiddle tunes. I couldn't have  been more wrong. Yes, there are fiddle tunes  bright, lively and imaginatively set and, at times, bordering on symphonic (not a criticism) with rich tones and clever juxtaposition between fiddle and viola  and there are songs, great songs, clearly performed and obviously, as my subsequent reading of the sleeve notes revealed, well researched.

The tunes are a mixture of traditional and self penned and I found myself thinking of the arrangements of Bellowhead albeit with, mostly, only two instruments. Maybe I went too far down this track because I also thought I heard traces of Jon Boden in Nick Wyke's vocals. Again, these comments are not meant as criticism.

My favourite tracks are, predictably for me, the vocal ones with The Torrington Ringers, the melody of which was written by Becki Driscoll based on a six bell peal, and The Exmoor Ram, a delightful song from the "exaggeration" genre with a good chorus. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy the tunes which, as I said previously, are imaginatively set and arranged to provide constant interest and I didn't, as so often happens, find myself treating them as background music. My favourites amongst the tunes is the title track A Handful of Sky. However, all of the tracks on this album will go onto my ever expanding playlist and none of them will be skipped.

The duo are new to me but I intend to make it my business to seek them out for more. Check out the website www.englishfiddle.com where you can hear samples and purchase the album ....a purchase I would thoroughly recommend.

R2

Dai Jeffries

A Handful Of Sky is the third album from Devon duo Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll. They both play violin and viola and their

music is built around the interplay of the two instruments. Becki also plays bassoon, which adds a touch of funk to a set of hornpipes, and their guests provide double bass and French horn.

More than half the record is instrumental   a style that thirty years ago we were pleased to call English Country Music. With two instruments the touch is light but the beat is strong for the dance tunes. Both players also write but they concentrate on traditional material with an emphasis on the West Country. That said, 'Terra Da Lua'/'John Of Paris, The New Way' is a splendid set the first tune is written by Becki and the second comes from Lincolnshire.

The songs are similarly biased westwards. The opener, 'Rambleaway', is from Baring Gould, and 'The Cornwall Apprentice' and 'The Exmoor Ram' are both better known under other titles, but 'The Torrington Ringers' is definitely a regional speciality. A Handful Of Sky is a delightfully sunny record   the perfect antidote to another English summer.

Songlines

TIM CUMMING

This is a pair of musicians steeped in the folk music and traditions of the south west   Becki Driscoll comes from Bridport and is now based in north Devon with Nick Wyke. Both have worked with Wren Music, the West Country's purveyors and educators in local folk traditions, with Wyke being an aficionado of the tunes of William Andrew of Dartmoor. A Handful of Sky combines traditional tunes with original works, but the main focus is on songs and tunes from the south west   the opening salutary narrative of 'Rambleaway', the equally cautionary 'The Cornwall Apprentice, and tunes such as 'The Bridgewater Hornpipe/The Dorchester Hornpipe'.

Their playing is exemplary, their ability to draw the ear of the listener having been honed by their experiences as itinerant Mediterranean buskers, and their work on fiddle and viola is A Handful of Sky's greatest strength. Wyke's vocals sometimes seem to me as too youthful to convincingly handle some of the darker lyrical matter, though Driscoll's wispy, delicate take on 'The Cruel Mother' is suitably chilling set to a pizzicato background. But their arrangements and performances are the set's main meat   the tunes, dances, and the beautiful, haunting title track.