IF proof was needed that the future of traditional music was in good hands than musicians Will Pound and Dan Walsh provide exciting evidence to support folk’s capacity to excite.
Walsh, regarded as one of the UK’s top players, uses the clawhammer style best known for its use in American roots music, while Pound plays both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas in a way that is impressively improvisational.
Together the affable pair provide a witty tour across the world’s traditional music styles, taking in bluegrass, Northumbrian folk, Irish reels, jazz, and even Arabic and Indian styles.
It’s extraordinarily virtuosic but crucially the pair never seem overly reverent about the music they are playing.
Instead they come across as willing pupils, happy to introduce their audience to new sounds while also relaxed enough to describe one song as being “by some Belgian bloke I can’t remember”.
Sadly the duo’s self-written songs are embarrassingly gauche and do little to display their technical skill: one tune about the self righteousness of people who criticise the guests on Jeremy Kyle show is particularly bad when compared to their sensitive readings of traditional songs such as The Jolly Beggerman and Amazing Grace.
Walsh is effusive on his love for Liverpool, playing a self-penned song called Kenny’s Return. “If Brendan is any good I’ll write one for him too,” says the rueful banjo player.
The evening ends with an extraordinary trip to the East on a song called Turkish Delight which features the pair improvising wildly as Walsh’s banjo turns into a sitar and Pound teases some incredible noises from his tiny harmonica.