‘The Call’ from Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar - fundamental folk essence(June 25, 2014)
There's a guileless nature to bucolic folk that holds a simple attraction all its own. However, giving the lie to any perceived minimal easiness, to effectively deliver such rustic simplicity demands a deep understanding of tradition, high levels of musicianship and a vocal style that complements without meandering into parody. The latest recording from Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar offers all that and more, and ‘The Call’, following their debut album ‘The Queen's Lover’, serves up quintessential folk music in spades.
The album includes Russell/Algar trad arrs, contemporary covers and some self-penned originals. All the way through, the blend is faultless, it’s impossible to tell where trad arr ends and original begins. That in itself shows the calibre of this duo, and the worth of the musicians that play alongside them on ‘The Call’. The songs exude the fundamental folk essence of narrative and involving storytelling - from the cheerfully foolish tale of ‘Roses Three’, the much-interpreted ‘Royal Comrade’ through the deep desperation of ‘The Workhouse’ from the folk opera The Paupers’ Path to the contentious ‘The Cockfight’.
Observing some purely subjective favourites - delicious sorrow in ‘Absent Friends’ with its double take combining personal and public tales, soul-stirring lyrics and melody of ‘The Call and Answer’ - harmony to die for, and the unashamed poetry of ‘A Season in your Arms’.
Russell’s voice oozes English folk and Algar’s utterly fiddle seduces – this is a classic folk album in the making.
Reviewer: Charlie Elland