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Jonathan Roscoe of Shire Folk

reviews Gleowien by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Gleowien, a Middle English word meaning to make music and merry, is the third album on WildGoose from multi-instrumentalists, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer. And without doubt it's their best so far. A mixture of mostly self-penned songs and tunes that contrast the rousing, such as the title track, with the more thoughtful and brooding.

Their songwriting is coming on a treat as well, especially a poem by Vicki's Great, Great-Grandfather to his grandson that she's put to music called "A 'Dood' Night Kiss", "Follow Me Home" a song by Jonny calling the family home from the fields and "William" Jonny's take on one of the Child Ballads about a little boy meeting a gold-suited devil on the way to school (as seems to happen in the folk world).

As you would expect from two such fine musicians, the album is instrumentally stunning. Vicki's playing of the Scottish small pipes is as good as anyone's in folk, especially on "Puget" and "Trad II", whilst the addition of the extraordinary Swedish nyckelharpa only adds texture and interest. Not to be outdone, Jonny weighs in with not only the more conventional guitar and accordion, but also the Swedish cittra. With several of the tracks based around Swedish life and stories you can see a bit of a Swedish theme developing - apparently Vicki even speaks fluent Swedish!