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Dave Beeby of Living Tradition

reviews A Handful of Sky by Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll

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 canít 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 Ė 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.