Frank Chester of Folk London
reviews New Road to Alston by Dave Townsend and Gill RedmondThere are albums that breathe quality and there are albums that breathe tradition. Just occasionally a real winner comes along that manages to do both.
The combination of English concertina and cello is one that goes back to the roots of the nation's folk heritage, and when combined with the excellent vocal quality of Redmond and Townsend and added to their choice of material the traditional
atmosphere is complete.
Redmond is a classical and folk cellist of the highest order, and Townsend is well known as a member of The Mellstock Band. Together they breathe new life into a whole string of tunes familiar to us all in the album's 14 tracks. The Banks Of The Nile, Banks Of Sweet Primroses, and The Washington Hornpipe all get their racy and exciting upbeat treatment, but for me the prize goes to The Shepherd's Song, which uses the Child ballad tune Dives And Lazarus.
The tone throughout is rather that of the expertly studied pub session, with the sounds light yet expertly honed. Believe me, you can practically hear the rain on the window and the log fire crackling in the background on this one.