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Keith Hudson of Taplas

reviews Gleowien by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

YOU have to hand it to these two. Each album they make comes up fresh as a daisy and, in some ways, significantly different from its predecesser. Previous releases have been either predominantly instrumental or vocal, but Gleowien mixes both in roughly equal measure.

Gleowien is a middle English word meaning to make merry and very apt it is as a title for this album, which opens with a set of three gorgeous tunes, the third bearing the same title. All three are Dyer's compositions and are delightfully played on Scottish small pipes by Swan. Her sublime piping features on several other tracks, but she's also adopted a nyckelharpa and the pair seem to be fostering a love affair with Sweden. Norrahammarsvagen may not have the same ring as Route 66 but it's a great road tune. Other pieces written in a Swedish style also impress.

Dyer's contributions on accordion and, in particular, guitar shouldn't be underestimated and his voice seems to have acquired a little more robustness. His songs include William, which he's loosely adapted from a Child ballad, and Follow me Home, which summon the family home from the fields.

Vicki and Jonny have charmed before and here they do so again.

Taplas, October/November 2009