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Sarah McQuaid of Hot Press

reviews All in a Garden Green by The Askew Sisters

Long live Sidmouth Folk Week! The two fresh-faced young lassies pictured on the cover of All In A Garden Green credit their musical development to the annual family holiday at that venerable folk institution, where they both started off playing the recorder in the Childrens Ceilidh and workshops. Emily Askew later moved on to the cello and then the fiddle, while her sister Hazel took up the melodeon. The pair released a well-received EP in 2005 and have now made their first full-length album. On the title track, the pair take turns playing the melody and vamping double- and treble-stopped accompaniment for a pairing of two dance tunes, the first from John Playfords 1651 Collection and the second dating back to the 1200s. The feel is nicely spare, and the same goes for songs like The Old Virginia Lowlands, an unusual version of The Golden Vanity that particularly lends itself to the fiddle-and-melodeon combination, and A Noble Riddle Wisely Expounded. The latter, featuring some nifty pizzicato work from Emily, is also one of just two tracks on which both singers sing. Mostly, Hazel handles the vocals, and very good she is, too, but Emilys unusual harmonies add an element that could do with more exposure.