David Kidman of fRoots
reviews Off the Land by Granny's AtticThis trio formed when at secondary school in 2009, and theyíve been steadily building up a following ever since, but the biggest step forward came when they reached the final of the BBC Young Folk Awards in 2014 Ė since which point, and most especially this past year, theyíve been proving a must-see attraction at festivals up and down the land. And theyíre still only just in their 20s.
Grannyís Attic are Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne (melodeon, concertina), George Sansome (guitar) and Lewis Wood (fiddle, mandolin); all three sing, and distinctively too. Each of the trio has a very well-defined musical personality, yet they also work together completely assuredly as a team, as tracks like The Death Of Nelson and the set of hornpipes (Rodís) demonstrate par excellence. But itís also the incredible energy with which these lads put the music across. Each of the three is also well able to deliver a credible and accomplished solo performance without the group context. Thereís a particularly authoritative quality to Cohenís vocal delivery, a polished maturity beyond his years; his singing displays a tremendous assurance and an unmistakable natural presence. As a singer, George has much to offer too, with a very different timbre to Cohenís and a believably youthful (yet maturely considered) expressiveness. Lewis is also an impressive singer, though itís probably his exceptional fiddle skills that get him noticed most.
The bulk of the material Grannyís Attic performs on Off The Land (their third release if you count an early EP) is solidly traditional in origin, the exceptions being three instrumental tracks containing fine tunes composed by Lewis (two more of his tunes surround Cohenís dramatic rendition of Two Brothers (aka Child Ballad 49) which forms the CDís finale). Other high points are especially fine accounts of Horkstow Grange, the Young Hunting variant False Lady and the broadside Country Hirings, all given a persuasive Grannyís Attic collaborative treatment. Clearly this is a band to watch.