Although this is the sixth album from folk duo Winter Wilson, this is the first one recorded since the couple turned professional in 2013. Cutting Free is a collection of thirteen original songs by Dave Wilson and one cover by their friend, the late Nick Keir.
Most of the songs are simply arranged for acoustic guitar or mandolin (all played by Dave Wilson). Occasionally, as in the epic I’ll Not Sing Auld Lang Syne, the instrumentation is expanded to include accordion (played by Kip Winter), percussion and electric guitar. Vocal duties are shared between both players.
The songs are a varied bunch and are all well-crafted. Both Winter and Wilson have fine voices and complement each other well. Some tracks, such as the lovely It Was Never in My Hands, about lost love, tread familiar ground but other pieces tackle a greater variety of themes.
The album’s opening number, Still Life in the Old Dog Yet, is based on a true story about one man’s struggle to find a job. It’s a very direct song sung with passion by Dave. This is juxtaposed with, I’m Cutting Free, a heartfelt song about leaving the rat race and working for yourself.
Avon’s Bank, sung by Kip, is a modern murder ballad about a women who drowns her lover after he sings and teases her about another love affair. Like many broadsides printed in the late 18th and 19th century the song ends with the murderess praying for forgiveness but knowing she is to be hanged for her crime come the morning.
There are two unaccompanied songs on the album. Common Form takes as its starting point the Kipling poem of the same name. It’s an anti-war piece strongly performed by Dave.
The other a capella song is by Nick Kier. The Field behind Our House was written for Kip’s mother and is the story of her family’s croft during World War II. It tells of the peace that was shattered when ’foreign planes’ took over the land. Although specific in detail, the song is universal in intent. It’s the finest song on the album.
Cutting Free is an apt name for this album as it represents a mighty step forward for Winter Wilson. This collection of songs is sure to be popular with the duo’s fanbase and will, no doubt, gain the couple even more fans during the coming months.Stephen Witkowski
Released on Winter Wilson Records on 21st April 2014.
1. Still Life in the Old Dog Yet
2. I’m Cutting Free
3. Avon’s Bank
4. We Still Get Along
5. A Door That Never Opens
6. Common Form
7. I’ll Not Sing Auld Lang Syne
8. Been a Long Day
9. I’ve Got the Consultation Bullshit Blues
10. What Does it Take to Face the Morning
11. It Was Never in My Hands
12. The Field Behind Our House
13. I Got a One-Way Ticket (but a Return State of Mind)
14. Cold Blow December Winds