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Tom Bell-Richards of Shire Folk

reviews Heirlooms by Chris Sarjeant

Raised in an accomplished musical and folkie family, Chris Sarjeant has some serious musical study behind him as a piano student at Music College, but turned his attention to folksong and guitar.

On this CD he makes a very good thing of the traditional repertoire plus one recent composition. Listening to the album I was soon thinking 'Nic Jones', a comparison made with credit to Chris, and was then interested to read that Nic had been an influence. Chris's voice is lighter than Nic's but with similar qualities of warmth and clarity. The disc includes a couple of guitar instrumentals and Chris's playing has an effective blend of lyricism and rhythmic percussiveness. Martin Carthy is cited as another influence. I'd suggest that rhythm is one of Chris's best qualities, and for me the star track here is the jauntily murderous and piratical 'Coast of Barbary'. With nice variety of tempos and subjects, and effective backing contributions from friends, this is a highly listenable CD which ends cheerily with the barely euphemistic 'Wanton Seed'.

Making your mark on today's crowded folk scene isn't easy, but Chris has a depth of musicianship, and an ease with traditional and lively material that will help him stand out from the rest of the young 'blokes with guitars'.

On the ever excellent Wildgoose label.