Multi-instrumentalist Will Allen, one half of the charismatic duo Brown Boots, decided to rest his melodeon for a while and to record a new album centred on the fiddle. With the support of Rowan Piggott on cittern and bass, he put together the eleven tracks of English Fiddle, a collection of traditional tunes played on the iconic stringed instrument with a long history in the British Isles.
Some of the titles on this release will sound familiar to many, but some others are pure hidden gems. The album alternates between lively reels and hornpipes such as the opening Lollipop Man, The Charming Maid / Trip to Brighton and Turel’s Hornpipe/ The Dorsetshire Hornpipe to technical jigs like The Railway and Dearest Dicky, a track for which Allen also released a video with images from the stunning English countryside.
Despite being quite simple in structure and arrangements, with incisive and catchy fiddle lines underpinned by gentle cittern and bass, this is definitely a rich and captivating work, characterised by a thorough musical sensibility and by a careful choice of material. Allen’s playing here does not look for extreme virtuosity, his ornaments are juxtaposed and well calibrated to enhance the quality of the tunes, at the same time showing the dexterity of this still very young and highly talented musician.
English Fiddle will possibly become a must-have for every fiddle player or lover and one might suspect we will hear more of this very enjoyable fiddle music by Will Allen in the near future.Michele Mele
Released on 4 July 2022 on CD and download.
1. Lollipop Man
2. Dearest Dicky
3. Whitehall Minuet
4. The Charming Maid / Trip to Brighton
5. Hod the Lass While I Run at Her
6. Shropshire Lass / Three Around Three
7. The Railway
8. Turel’s Hornpipe/ The Dorsetshire Hornpipe
9. Hawkshead Rant / Trip to Barnard
10. The Green Ship / Kettle Drum
11. Once I Loved a Maiden Fair