Stuart Reed, Brighton Acoustic Session, May 2011
As with any band that features a vocalist the focus of this new line up was always going to be on Laura Hockenhull, the outstanding young singer who is soon destined to lose the soubriquet of "folk music's best-kept secret." Her infrequent public appearances thus far belied her poised and engaging performance at the Brighton Acoustic Session. In the current climate of febrile praise for women singers in the "folk" boom there are many of the lauded ones who would give their eye teeth to be able at one moment to caress a vocal with a featherlight touch and the next to be soaring above a full throated chorus from the audience.
But the beating heart of this band is the unparalleled musicianship of the already legendary Ben Paley / Tab Hunter partnership, now augmented by the flourishes of rock-solid banjo player, Dan Stewart. One hesitates, therefore, to invoke the cliché of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts because here are performers who are each capable of virtuoso cameos.
Without question this ensemble delivered utterly authentic of roots music at its finest.