Root and Branch are a five-piece band playing a vast range of instruments between them. A cello is fairly unusual in a folk band, but here we have two, as well as two fiddles, two mandolins, three guitars, a bouzouki and a banjo. The music they play is influenced by the traditional music of England, Ireland and Scotland with a smattering of North American old time style.
The EP opens with the title track, Overground. This is a lively tune set and heralds a promising opening to the EP. The tunes have a Scottish feel with the focus changing from one instrument to another.
Two more tune sets are also included on the album. The Road to Krk is twinned with the song Reuben’s Train, sung in an Appalachian style. Back of the Change House is grounded on a cello drone, with some close harmony playing from fiddles. The musical layers and pace build up gradually to an exciting ending.
Poor Old Soldier is a well-known song paired with an equally well-known tune, The Rogue’s March. The unrefined singing style and the deliberately ragged rendition of the tune reflect the plight of the soldier and his weary march home.
The EP ends with The Blackest Crow. While the breathy singing style may not be to everyone’s taste it suits this poignant song well.
Overground is a fine showcase of the varied talents and influences of Root and Branch.Shelley Rainey
Self-release on 19 August 2015
2. Poor Old Soldier (The Rogue’s March)
3. The Road to Krk/Reuben’s Train
4. Back of the Change House
5. The Blackest Crow