Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston(January 25, 2012)
Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston - I declare I had more than a passing interest in this recording as soon as I saw the photograph of Rex Preston’s mandolin. OK, so (like many other readers out there) I was aware of Miranda Sykes if only for her association with Show Of Hands but had, until this time not personally paid much attention. That’ll teach me…for here we have a wistfully crafted album that could see its way into my top ten favourite ‘folk’ recordings of 2012…and it’s only January! This personable duo might find themselves in competition with Simon Mayor & Hilary James and, if so, as Sherlock Holmes might say “...the game’s afoot”.
If you like ‘folk’ music with an artistic flourish then I can do no more than recommend Preston’s astonishingly deft touch on all things string and particularly the track ‘A Kiss In The Morning Early’ (anyone out there remember The Matthews Brothers?) which is just sublime. He certainly marks his territory where Chris Thile has trod before by including the merest hint of Pachelbel for good measure and the duo’s arrangements don’t take risks so much as embrace them and I’m sure the songwriters who have contributed unknowingly (Karine Polwart, Kate Rusby, Imogen Heap and Patty Griffin) would be more than happy with the finished result.
If you’re looking to replenish your spirits in these austere times then I suggest you purchase this recording at the earliest opportunity and impress your friend’s safe in the knowledge that here are two artists at the top of their tree! You can find 'Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston' on Hands On Music HMCD35
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe