The Canny Band, namely pianist Michael Biggins, button accordionist Sam Mabbett and bodhràn player Callum Convoy, is a new exciting trio of young musicians from England and Scotland with a number of awards already under their belt. Their debut eponymous album, recorded under the guidance of Scott Turnbull, showcases their virtuoso playing and composition talent.
From the opening set of reels Granny’s 93rd to The Canopy, the only song on this album, from the medley of jigs Blind Harbour to the French style set Musette à Govan, the album is made up of almost entirely self-penned material and successfully alternates foot-tapping tunes to more meditative and lyrical passages.
Other highlights include the solo piano track Helen’s Song, a beautiful sample of Mabbett’s sensitive and expressive playing that provides a fitting bridge between the first and the second part of the release, and the ever-changing Jacob’s Waltz, the most varied and remarkable track of the entire album.
In spite of the young age of the musicians, confidence and maturity ooze from every single bar. Their variations and embellishments are the icing on the cake and, together with the choice of material, convey the highly infectious energy of their live performances.
At the same time, the track names seem to suggest that many of these compositions were written out of personal experiences or for people the artists know, a detail that makes everything more warm and intimate.
The dexterity this album showcases from all the musicians involved, some sporadic jazzy passages here and there and the mix of fast-paced and contemplative tunes all make for a very enjoyable listening experience that rightly puts The Canny Band among the best prospects of the folk music scene of the British Isles.Michele Mele
Self-released on 18 April 2022 on CD and digitally. Recorded, engineered and mastered by Scott Turnbull
1. Granny’s 93rd
2. Blind Harbour
3. Five Tunes
5. Helen’s Song
6. Musette à Govan
7. Jacob’s Waltz
8. The Canopy