‘Boathouse Masters’ from Shiznitz(February 23, 2012)
Folk music has more quirky facets than a rough-cut diamond – and when you dig your way through the dross, some of them shine. Not everyone will rave over Shiznitz. They are a band for singular rather than multiple tastes but they turn out folk that grabs an audience and unless you’re already dead, will not fail to excite.
Their music, which blends trad arranged with self-penned, offers frenetic accordion, spicy banjo and violin, punchy percussion and boundless energy. Their catalogue treats you to folk-standards like ‘Mason’s Apron’ through the rough-edged force of ‘Barroom’ to the out and out energy of ‘Tullah’s Reel’. There’s degree of the unusual with folk-accented, reggae-influenced ‘Spook’, the enigmatic drama and spoken poetic meanderings of ‘Hull Air (Burwell’s Piobaireachd)’ and a slightly sanitised version of ‘Whole World Over’ (for which I recall more obscene lyrics).
There’s a highly infectious, foot-stomping nature to their music. OK it’s not ‘hear-it-once-and-never-forget-it’ but it sure as hell stays with you long after the track finishes. Now until these guys dropped us a message it’s fair to say they had operated below our radar, which probably means they should travel further outside the environs of their native Yorkshire - when they do I’ll be there to listen.
Just so you know who to blame when you find that you’re addicted to their brand of folk, Shiznitz are Justin Quinn (accordion, guitar, banjo, vocals) Larry Mctavish aka Gary Mckeown (5-string banjo, vocals, percussion) Stevie ‘Sticks’ Clark (suitcase, drums, pots and pans, guitar, vocals) Corona Smith aka Lee Merrill Sendall (fiddle, guitar, ukulele, saw, vocals, odds and sods) and Grace Worrell (bass, mandolin and flute).
They’ve got an album ‘Boathouse Masters’ and a web site. Do take a trip down south chaps you deserve a wider audience.
Reviewer: Dan Holland