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fRoots magazine is the essential resource for folk, roots and world music – local music from out there. We’ve always been central to the UK folk scene and were the pioneering, original world music magazine from year zero. We constantly support new young artists while celebrating the established: joining up the dots.

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JOLIE HOLLAND & SAMANTHA PARTON Wildflower Blues Cinquefoil CINQ-CD-017

Any album that includes covers of songs by Townes Van Zandt, Michael Hurley and Bob Dylan is pretty much guaranteed at least an approving nod from this writer. When those artists are reunited Be Good Tanyas founder members Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton, then it’s hallelujah time.

Van Zandt’s You Are Not Needed Now makes for a terrific opening track, reimagined by Holland & Parton as a piece of smouldering country-rock that evokes The Weight, by fel- low Canadians The Band. Hurley’s Jocko’s Lament is an affectionate tip to the great man and Dylan’s Minstrel Boy (from Self Portrait) features a lovely a cappella introduction.

Their seven original compositions are melodic and lyrically direct (“you are the last crazy person who will break my heart”), and are suffused with the conventions and ciphers of folk song (“weeping by the willow tree”, “wait for judgement day”). The exemplary playing, arrangements and production (by Holland and Parton) make for a varied, yet sat- isfyingly coherent album. Although recorded in Oregon, there’s a distinct flavour of Mem- phis Soul Stew to tracks like Wildflower Blues – on this issue’s fRoots 66 – emphasised by the superb guitar and vocals of Stevie Weinstein- Foner and Jared Samuels’ organ and piano behind those seraphic harmonies. An ageless, hugely appealing record that marks a very welcome return. Steve Hunt

WÖR Sssht Appel Rekords APR1374

Compared with other European countries of its size, and there are quite a number of them with a population of nine to twelve million, Belgium seems to punch well above its weight when it comes to the number and quality of its folk and roots music releases, and here is another one to catch the ear.

Wör are an instrumental band and they make a powerful muscular sound when going full pelt at dance tunes but they vary things with some slower more subtle airs. Every- thing is tightly arranged with frequent changes of lead instrument and in the overall timbre and dynamic of the band sound.

Their previous (2015) album drew praise in these pages and its title Back To The 1780s gives a clue to their repertoire; it was all drawn from 18th Century Flemish music manuscripts and the same is true this time, but as has already been suggested, the approach is anything but antiquarian. Yes, you would expect accordeon, pipes, fiddle and guitar in a European folk band, but the ubiquitous presence of the baritone sax is just one indicator that they take a thoroughly modern approach.

There is everything to suggest that they must be a superb live act with festivals throughout Europe and Canada, and their British dates – Shetland to Sark – suggest that they have these islands covered pretty fully.

Interestingly enough, many of these tunes from archives in Flanders are going to sound familiar to the ears of English musicians. Tunes that we know as Buttered Peas, The Sus- sex Cotillion, morris tunes… there’s even a sort of theme and variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Flemish indeed! I hope our Brexit negotiators are reading this. That big red cam- paign bus ought to have had “Taking Back Control Of Our Tunes” painted on the side! Vic Smith

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