‘The Ox and the Ax’ - Cath & Phil Tyler - seamless blend of Anglo-American folk tradition

(February 14, 2018)

The roots of tradition still retain the ability to sprout in manifold variations, some grow from The Ox and The Ax album coverthe far side of innovation others thrive closer to home but all develop equally inventive shoots. Although a multitude of adaptations exist, it’s always possible for artists to take original outlooks on tradition ... that’s certainly the province of Cath and Phil Tyler. You can find that and more in their new album, releasing on 30th March, ‘The Ox and the Ax’. Its seamless blend of Anglo-American folk tradition pulls their respective heritage trails into a intertwining that offers their interpretation of variations on traditionals plus lyrics embraced by Tyler-original tunes. The delivery from this duo is unassuming yet refined, the reverence evident and the clarity unerring.

Opening with an interpretation from The New Green Mountain Songster, their empathy with the much re-imagined ‘The Two Sisters’ is a simple treat, as is their view on ‘Finest Flower’ ... and it’s that approach that gives so much authenticity to their music, enough as needed but never too much. Voices providing a faultless balance, the instrumentation sparse yet more than satisfactory for solid foundation. With another multi-version song ‘King Henry’, they continue the move through their own unique combination of instrument and voice ... a singularly entrancing song, then to ‘Lady Dysie’, another ancient song much reiterated, and a loving impression of ‘Wallington’ given the Tyler-treatment.


Review: Tim Carroll

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