Words by Julian May
As a child, Will Pound had several heart operations. His father gave him a harmonica when Will was ten, thinking it would help his son’s breathing. Sixteen years later he is a virtuoso, wringing from the humble ‘tin sandwich’ sounds ranging from the delicate flourishes of ‘Waxy’s’ to the rhythmic locomotive rasps of ‘Old Joe Clark’. This was the first tune he mastered; that it sits in the middle of his debut solo album is only right. A Cut Above is an album of delightful variety. ‘White Jock’ and ‘Dearest Dickie’ are fine morris tunes; ‘93 Not Out’ was composed by the Northumbrian shepherd and ace mouthie man, Will Atkinson; and ‘Clinch Mountain Back Step’ is a bluegrass favourite from the 30s. Pound is ably aided by guest musicians of the calibre of Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting. But Pound does more than roam the repertoire, he pushes the harp into unfamiliar musical roles. In ‘Michael Turner’s Waltz’ (written by Herr Mozart rather than Mr Turner) the harmonica provides the bass line behind Chris Sarjeant’s guitar. And the sounds and rhythms he achieves in ‘Amazing Grace’ are indeed amazing.
TRACK TO TRY: ‘Amazing Grace’