BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee Will Pound is back with with his wife Nicky in their Anglo-Scots form of Haddo. Known for his harmonica playing Will adopts the mellow sounding melodeon as the perfect partner to Nicky’s fine viola and fiddle playing and he is as adept at mastering this instrument as he is the harmonica as he so ably demonstrated on their debut and on this second release Borderlands.
From the rousing opener Ampleforth, a dance tune commonly used in the longsword dance tradition, they set a great foot tapping pace which also has a warmth that pervades the album throughout making the cosy woollen rustic album artwork the perfect choice. Warwickshrire-born Will is well versed in English folk song and dance which can be heard in some of the tune selections which include some of his favourite morris tunes.
The blending of English and Scottish tunes form a partnership that works really well, even the more sedate Midma has a wonderful charm all of its own, a tune Nicky wrote to celebrate buying their narrowboat of the same name. They both now live on the water in the lovely Oxfordshire canals a lifestyle choice that if music reflects states of happiness seems to suit them very well.
We are also treated to a very jaunty take on the murder ballad Two Sisters…tales that end in soricide are not normally this upbeat, the first glimmer of the mischievousness of these two kindred spirits. It is also on this ballad that we get to hear the vocals of Nicky for the first time on a Haddo album. This is great to hear and seeing as she was a chorister at Dunblane Cathedral it seems only right that she should share this gift even if on just two songs. She admits that “the album has been a chance to reconnect with my Scottish roots. Singing was a huge part of my life growing up and it’s been great to bring some Scottish songs into the Haddo set as well as continuing to explore traditions of my adopted home here in England.” Her second song choice is the Jacobite song Will Ye No Come Back Again, a song she has sung since childhood.
There is a lightness to some of the arrangements which I can only really describe as them having a bit of fun together. They throw in more than a scoop of swing on the morris tune Old Tom Oxford which they give the ‘Glen Miller’ treatment to. Amongst all the fun are also some real gems with no tongue-in-cheek delivery. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a Duncan Chisholm tune in the form of Farley Bridge which featured on Duncan’s 2008 album Farrar. Another is Halsway Carol named after the Somerset manor which is down the road from where we are based. A fine reel by Scottish fiddle player John MCCusker plays out before the finale with Spootiskerry on which they end on a happy upbeat note as Will is allowed to feature his harmonica….and boy does he let it rip!
These two have certainly shown they have a developing relationship, musically of course, and their sound has really matured since their debut. Borderlands has moments of finesse, warmth and fun, a perfect combination that I am sure will continue to grow and blossom.
Borderlands is released on Lulubug Records on May 19th, 2014.
17/04/14 – Duton Hill Folk Club
18/04/14 – Square & Compass, Worth Matravers
2/05/14 – House Concert, Shropshire
5/05/14 – Green note Cafe, Camden
7/05/14 – The Stables, Milton Keynes
9/05/14 – Old Cinema Launderette, Durham
15/05/14 – The Old Inn, Skye
16/05/14 – Red Roof Gallery, Skye
25/05/14 – Bothy Folk Club, Southport
14/06/14 – Ceilidh, Bishops Tachbrook
21/06/14 – St Albans Festival
6/07/14 – Sark Folk Festival
27/07/14 – Warwick Folk Festival
2/08/14 – Dranouter Festival, Belgium
12/09/14 – BAA Fest
20/09/14 – Priston Festival
4/10/14 – Allendale Festival
18/10/14 – Musicport Festival
23/10/14 – Topic Folk Club