John Denny of Thefolkmag
reviews Changeling by CrucibleWhat a lovely record! Crucible is the emphatically talented, singing wing of Hekety. What instantly stands out is that each of them is not only a very capable musician but also has a joyfully distinctive voice. I went to the CD launch and can happily say that the excellent live performance transfers well to the recording. They are refreshingly good and delightfully traditional. The pleasure they take in what they do also crosses over to the record. The songs may be as old as the hills but they sound as fresh as a daisy.
They open with a crisp version of Bold Poachers, noted in 1921 by E J Moeran. Their arrangement changes texture from verse to verse, shifting from rnelodeon and single vocal to fiddle, melodeon and double vocal and back again, switching into a version of a Cotswold morris tune (Idbury Hill). What seems completely original to these entirely traditional ingredients is the arrangement. On the following instrumental track (From Night til Morn), there is a rawness to the fiddle playing of Jess that contrasts with the small pipes played by Helena. This contrast is repeated in the four part vocal Harvest Home. A neat trick that and very, very able. The Devil and the Farmers Wife is a duet by Jess and Helena featuring their contrasting fiddles. Their voices harrnonise at gradually wider ranges and at one stage drift almost into a round and out again. They skilfully play around with the all the available textures, bringing the whole song to life without taking anything from its original character.
The Blackbird spotlights the singing of Gavin before the group shifts into the instrumental Black Nag. This time, it is a shifting of time signatures that adds a lift to the end of the track. Changelings Lullaby is an original (words by Gavin) sung solo by Jess who wrote the tune and is immediately followed by Yield, Yield Ye Mighty to the Lord which again is a new song (this time by Simon Haywood) sounding traditional and the whole group manage to sound like a massed choir. They end the CD with a shape note hymn (Evening Hymn). What stands out on all the tracks is the way they take simple, direct materials and bring them to life by the subtle and varied way they use them. There is a lot of hard work on this record that manages to sound free and easy. What a lovely record!