‘Forge’ from Inlay - heritage and innovation brought together without a visible seam

(December 28, 2016)

The merging of tradition with innovation and adding disparate influences can create both positive and negative results. Such intermingling can be somewhat transitory, an irregular joining, sometimes a forced marriage and infrequently a head-on clash. Executed perfectly it brings out the best of both. There’s little doubt that Inlay have Forge album cover 001brought together their respective musical inspirations and experiences, added a clear and obvious reverence for tradition and created their second album ‘Forge’, which indeed produces a ‘best of both’ result.

Highly skilled musicianship is evident throughout the album, as is the strength of composition ... writing ‘in the tradition’ is a well-worn phrase that often disguises a certain amount of sameness. Not so here, the ‘tradition’ is evident but so is a certain boldness and confidence to embellish and expand within carefully constructed tunes and songs. The opening tune set, ‘Pete and Loz’s’ is a gentle delight, while the heartening ‘Penberry Hill’ sets toes tapping, from there it’s a short step to ‘Lovely On The Water’ for ample evidence of Inlay’s expertise, blending Vaughan Williams’ Norfolk Rhapsody with their own interpretations. The strangely evocative ‘Murmuration’ gives way to ‘Make Your Mark’ with a chant-like quality that could come from today or hundreds of years ago, and to prove yet again their versatility ‘The Road To Varanasi’ creates a fascinating melange of East and West.

‘Forge’ is attractive, mesmerising and absorbing ... it’s also a fine example of heritage and innovation brought together without a visible seam.

Inlay are Ross Grant (fiddle, vocals) Nick Sánchez-Ray (five-string banjo, slide guitar, charango, bansitar) James Porter (guitar, vocals) and Andy Weeks (accordion, percussion, vocals).


Review: Tim Carroll

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