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Paul Burgess of The Living Tradition

reviews Long Time Travelling by Jeff Warner

As befits the son of the amazing folk-song collectors Anne and Frank Warner who collected hundreds of wonderful songs, Jeff Warner has quite a background in traditional American music. Here he includes eight of the songs his parents gleaned, but doesn’t restrict himself to this source, wisely choosing a number of other pieces which all then fit together to produce a varied and satisfying whole. He’s a fairly undemonstrative singer, with a rich voice and has the great knack of letting a song speak for itself – something which requires great technique and deep understanding.

This extends to his accompaniments: thoughtful, well-chosen and always guaranteed to suit the song, rather than getting in the way. As well as his own banjo, English concertina, guitar and percussion, he has assembled a stellar backing group – once again, all of whom are chosen to help ornament a particular song, or point up a particular mood. From Keith Kendrick’s punchy anglo-concertina on Ho Boys Ho, which kicks off the album in fine style, to the fiddling of Pete Sutherland, all the musicians and singers give performances which are a truly positive addition - even the use of such exotica as Vicki Swan’s nyckelharpa is beautifully judged and proves particularly telling. A really lovely record, and warmly recommended.