‘The Waters & the Wild’ from Ninebarrow - enthralling, captivating and ultimately triumphant

(April 13, 2018)

There’s no more perplexity that Dorset-based duo, Ninebarrow produce outstanding folk music. It’s no longer extraordinary they deliver outstanding musicianship, gently crafted instrumentation, scintillating harmonies and wholly engrossing songs. There’s no expression of amazement because the combination of Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere has proved Ninebarrow The Waters and the Wildbeyond doubt that it now stands at the forefront of English folk. Their latest album ‘The Waters & the Wild demonstrates their continued development as both composers and musicians ... and it’s their best yet.

With ‘‘The Waters & the Wild’ they return with a selection of engaging material ... original songs focused on folklore and tales from their native region, inventive interpretations of tradition, translating the inspiration of poetry into song, and all the while creating stunning imagery through inspired narrative. From the immediate rustic engagement of ‘The Hour of the Blackbird’ through the darkness of an avoidable shipping disaster recorded in ‘Halswell’ to their future-celebration of nature’s reclamation of the South Dorset Ridgeway in ‘Overthrown’ when human impact is just a memory. Perfectly balanced, inventive takes on the many versioned ‘Prickle-eye Bush’ and ‘While Gamekeeper’s Lie Sleeping’ follow, before they expand imagination to employ the words of Dorset-dialect poet William Barnes to create ‘Hwome’ and visit the fairy-world of W.B. Yeats for the haunting title track ‘The Waters and the Wild’.

​‘The Waters & the Wild’ from Ninebarrow releases on 20 April ... to describe it as a triumph is no exaggeration, because it is an enthralling, captivating, and an ultimately triumphant album.


Review: Tim Carroll

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