One of my earliest experiences of performance harp was by ‘Harpo’ Marx in the film “A Day At The Races” and again in a film that the title escapes me. The only reason I mention this is at the way he exploited genres such as classical, folk and jazz to make the music accessible to the widest possible audience.Maybe the cross-over from folk to jazz (or vice versa) isn’t as dramatic as it sounds for here is proof positive in the more than capable hands ofRachel Hair (harp), Jenn Butterworth(guitar/vocal) and Euan Burton on double bass.
Opening with her own self-penned title track “No More Wings” Hair sets the listener up for a bright and breezy show of digital dexterity that would have the angels smiling in Heaven. With the addition of Butterworth’s vocals and softly slapped guitar chords the jazz-tinged interpretation of Cyril Tawney’s “Grey Funnel Line” pushes the lyrics at a brisk (but not outrageous) pace and in my opinion makes the song all the more enjoyable.
With the aid of tasteful breathy vocals (think Clannad or Enya) on several tracks adding a dynamic splash of colour to proceedings this music will bath you, in Radox metaphorically speaking without the merest hint of being kitsch. It surely won’t be too much longer before they add these talented artists to the roster of the Transatlantic Sessions…here’s hoping.
Pete Fyfe, ukfolkmusic.co.uk