Review Archive

‘Dig Where You Stand’ the debut album from Cornishman Richard Trethewey

(October 31, 2012)

From the first song, an inviting, burnished voice takes your attention and as you delve further into ‘Dig Where You Stand’ the debut album from Cornishman Richard Trethewey, you realise that you’re Dig-Where-You-Stand-CD1-300x300listening to a voice that could well carve its own conspicuous niche in English folk music. You’re also listening to a selection of traditional and self-penned songs that reflect a much-beloved identity and birthright that Cornishmen guard so fiercely.

Searching for and sharing his own past, Richard sings songs steeped in the legacy and traditions of family and life in Cornwall. There’s also the inspired addition of Jim Causley’s accordion and voice, and spot on brass arrangements that provide a distinct and welcoming ambience. From the richly-garnished tradition of ‘The Wreck off Scilly’ and ‘The Merry Haymakers’ to Trethewey originals such as ‘The Clayworker’s Strike of 1913’ and ‘Smoking Chimneys’ these are consummate folk narratives delivered with patent love and care. Take in the fact that the traditional ‘Twanky Dillo’ is augmented by percussion played on an anvil used by Richard’s grandfather with chisels made by his hands – how’s that for working with your own heritage?

The unbelievable tiny Penzance village of Mousehole gets a name-check through the story of ‘Tom Bawcock’s Eve’, which celebrates the efforts of said Mousehole resident to relieve a village famine. Trethewey once again shows his own work focused on family experience with ‘Worse things happen’ and working with tradition on ‘We Be’ - complete with clog dancing. And just to deliver a lively fiddle tune or two there’s the trad shanty ‘South Australia’ blended with another family-focused original ‘The Boys of Penstraze’.

Bringing their talents to ‘Dig Where You Stand’ alongside Richard Trethewey (vocals, fiddles, octave fiddle, triangle, anvil, bellows, percussion) are guest musicians across various tracks – The Camborne Youth Band: Matthew Brown (cornet) Laureen Hodge (horn) Dominic Turner (trombone) and Ryan Huxtable (tuba) plus there’s Steve Hunt (guitar) Jim Causley (accordion) Phil Innes (percussion) Jowdy Davey (clogs) and Heather Trethewey (baritone horn).

A debut album from a young folk musician that promises much – lovers of folk would be wise to keep an ear out for this one.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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