Maggie Boyle, Helen Hockenhull and Lynda Hardcastle - '20'(March 08, 2012)
Celebrating twenty years together as a trio Maggie Boyle, Helen Hockenhull and Lynda Hardcastle unwrap their latest Grace Notes album '20' which like the image on the CD sleeve proves a piece of cake. Not from the arrangements you understand…but in the listening. Unlike say Military Wives where everything is pretty much full-on, Grace Notes prove that subtlety and strategically placed solo performances count far more than just straight forward ensemble set-pieces.
Of course, three-part harmonies feature on a majority of the songs which perfectly reflect their choice of traditional and contemporary material including standards ‘Two Sisters’, ‘Mingulay Boat Song’ and the more recent ‘Magdalene Laundry’ and Richard Shindell’s ‘Wisteria’.
Each of the members have distinctive voices and harnessing their instrumental talents including flute, bodhran, keyboards, mandolin and recorder they add that little extra something to the melting pot. Of all the 20 estimable tracks on a fine recording my favourite is the gothic re-telling of ‘Reynardine’ which in my personal opinion sounds more like Rosie Cross of Pyewackett interpretation than Sandy Denny whom the trio acknowledge in their sleeve-notes. Available from Fellside Recordings FECD249.
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe