Words by Tim Cumming
Assured second album from whizz-kid trio of British folk
The trio format is a mainstay of contemporary British jazz, and it’s becoming the case in folk, too, with the likes of Leveret, Simpson Cutting Kerr, and now Moore Moss Rutter. No, they are not an accounting firm, but the 2011 winners of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and already a seasoned live and recording unit.
The best of MMR’s second album is contemporary English instrumental art music from the folk tradition – the collections of Playford and Vaughan Williams among them – with plenty of original touches. There are a few songs here: ‘Wait for the Wagon’ is an American song that shipped up in South Yorkshire; and Rutter’s lead on ‘Reed Cutter’s Daughter’ is particularly affecting. But it’s the tight mesh and flowing expressivity of the group instrumental work on fiddle, melodeon and guitar that is outstanding, right from the opening set of tunes, ‘The Kings Burrow/Mrs Foster’s Fudge’, through to Tom Moore’s achingly beautiful account of ‘Jenny Pluck Pears’ from Playford’s 1653 book of dance tunes. It’s atmospheric, compelling, focused and with the kind of necessary decoration that evokes the light and shade flickering around an open hearth. You can expect to hear the best of English instrumental music when they tour this autumn.