‘Incidents & Accidents’ by Dan Walsh – an outpouring of expansion and innovation(February 13, 2015)
Maybe I’m cynical (not much maybe about it) but when I read the term ‘master’ I wait for hype or hyperbole to appear. A similar foreboding applies to the word ‘banjo’, an instrument that has attracted a fair degree of (often unfair, sometimes accurate) denigration.
However, in the case of ‘Incidents & Accidents’ I’ll make an exception – on both counts. For starters, there’s actually far more to the much-maligned banjo than bluegrass, proved by an increasing number of exponents that have taken it far beyond those restrictions. One certainty, Dan Walsh is a banjo-master and without doubt he has taken the art of the banjo through an outpouring of expansion and innovation. His latest album ‘Incidents & Accidents’ evidences the scope of his talent and the breadth of expression he can coax from the banjo through songs that perfectly expound its fit across styles and the sinuous dexterity of the instrumentals.
‘Time To Stay’ opens withsome ‘mountain music’ overtones, before the fluid tones of ‘Lost Rambler’ reveal Walsh’s instrumental skill, an inspired arrangement of a traditional Finnish tune combined with Walsh’s voice delivers the ‘Hermit of Gully Lane’. The instrumental reach continues through the sprightly ‘Wobbly Trolley’ the twinkling Eastern edge to ‘Whiplash Reel’ and the finely-touched and finally-frenetic ‘The Tune Set ‘. Dan also breathes life into story-songs like ‘The Song Always Stays’, a touching take on Daryl Scott’s ‘With a Memory Like Mine’ and ‘Only Way To Go’.
Joining Dan on ‘Incidents & Accidents’ are Patsy Reid (fiddle), Nic Zuppardi (mandolin), Mark Hutchinson (percussion/vocals) and Meaghan Blanchard (vocals).
The album releases 16 March 2015: www.danwalshbanjo.co.uk
Reviewer: Tim Carroll