Andrews Massey Duo - ...from the roots

2013 studio album

...from the roots - Andrews Massey Duo

the bright young folk review

Andrews Massey Duo’s release …from the roots is an instrumental release of well loved folk songs. It features some favourites, including Loch Lomond and Wayfaring Stranger. Its beautifully mastered, and the playing is magnificent.

Dribbles of Brandy, with a mournful and floating flute part, opens this wonderful release. The melody is equally shared between the gentle guitar and flute. They really compliment each other well. The mixing of the opening track work beautifully as a piccolo part pops in and adds a more frivolous sound.

Early One Morning continues the light and graceful beginning made with Dribbles of Brandy. It is a simple bouncing a tune which oscillates between the guitar and flute parts. It’s incredible in that it really does emulate the light of a sunny spring morning.

Bold Grenadier is a far deeper and darker tune. It is the time-old story of a handsome soldier, a fair maid and his excuse. While usually sung from an outsider’s view, this wordless version seems more first hand and woeful. It is beautifully atmospheric.

An unaccustomedly slow version of Wayfaring Stranger is also included in the slower and darker tunes on this release. Incredibly though, once it gets started it sounds more classically western-inspired than the Johnny Cash version which many will love. The guitar part is wonderfully authentic sounding and really steals the show.

The following track picks up the pace a bit. Dance to your Daddy is far removed from the fish finger advert. At first the listener might feel a bit restless in the slower parts of the opening waiting for it to kick in, but once it truly gets started it works really brilliantly.

Molly Malone is another great tune, the flute part takes over the main tune of this Irish classic. It’s a very different musical experience than the classic Dubliners version, the Irish drawl replaced with a light and airy sound. The faster pace and instrumentation takes it away from being the classical sorrowful durge and makes it a more joyful celebration of the beautiful Molly Malone’s life.

Loch Lomond slows the pace down, and it’s an absolutely fantastic version of it. It starts slowly and picks up to a more jolly guitar part. This turn around also happens in another song about lost love, Blow the Wind Southerly. It traditionally tells the tale of a young lady wishing the wind to change in order to bring her lover back. This version is far lighter than you would expect for the subject matter. The flute melody is wonderful bouncing, and as it builds the guitar joins into a call and response pattern. Instead of it being a song about longing for a man long gone and possibly errant it strikes me as being a song to simply pass the time until a real true love comes home.

What is interesting about an instrumental release of classic folk tunes is the re-working of established tunes. If one were to sing tracks such as Molly Malone, Dance to your Daddy or Loch Lomond it could be really difficult to make them your own. By being solely instrumental …from the roots is able to put new twists on the old hat tunes turning them into their own stories.

It is wonderful to reassess some favourite tracks and consider why they are so good, and it was reassuring to find out that it was their tunes as much as their lyrics that makes them so well loved.

Rosamund Woodroffe

Released January 30th 2013 by AM Records

1. Dribbles of Brandy
2. Early One Morning
3. Bold Grenadier
4. Dance to your Daddy
5. Molly Malone
6. Loch Lomond
7. Wayfaring Stranger
8. Blow the Wind Southerly

Andrews Massey Duo discography