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Dai Jefries of R2

reviews Heirlooms by Chris Sarjeant

The name maybe familiar: Chris's parents Derek and Hazel were big in the 60s and, despite setting out to be a classical musician, he has returned to the musical environment of his childhood for his debut album.

Chris's style invites the description 'sensitive' but a better word would be 'empathic'. He finds the heart of a song and opens it up to new scrutiny. A distinguished cast of guest musicians supports his vision, which is not about clever arrangements for their own sake but about illuminating the text.

Several songs come from his parents' repertoire, 'Rambling Robin' and'Streams Of Lovely Nancy' among them, and others from their contemporaries. 'Coast Of Barbary' is from Peter Bellamy and has all the bounce that Peter could achieve when he was on a roll without in any way being an imitation. He calls 'Lord Marlborough' a eulogy and treats it so very different from the more familiar boisterous interpretations.

There are two understated solo guitar Instrumentals including a set by Kathryn Tickell and one modern song, 'Coal Not Dole', which is more lament than political posturing; nothing has really changed and that battle is lost.

Heirlooms is an excellent debut and, I hope, the first flowering of a long career.