Friday, October 16, 2020

'Hold Fast' by Stick in the Wheel

 16 October 2020

Amongst the plethora of excellent new English folk music recordings that seem to come out almost every week, ‘Hold Fast’ – the new album from London-based duo Stick in the Wheel – caught my attention because of its unpredictability. Nicola Kearey (vocals) and Ian Carter (guitar/producer) have produced an eclectic collection of songs with some fairly conventional acoustic guitar folk sitting alongside tracks with more of a rock feel plus some electronica and pop. The lyrics include poetry from 10th century Saxon Britain, 17th century London slang and a Yiddish lament. By its nature the album is a bit of a mixed bag (the Guardian’s review suggested Stick in the Wheel were maybe trying too hard) but the best tracks have a swagger reminiscent of Bellowhead. See, for example ‘Budg & Snudg’ featuring the accordion of John Kirkpatrick (whose son Benji Kirkpatrick was a member of Bellowhead and who I reviewed here in April 2009):

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