John Spiers & Jon Boden, Bellow
If you don't believe there can be real driving power in a melodeon-and-fiddle duo, you need to listen to this.
If you don't believe there can be real driving power in a melodeon-and-fiddle duo, you need to listen to this. The second album from John Spiers and Jon Boden goes full tilt from start to finish, whether it's on "Prickle Eye Bush" (an early variant of "Gallows Pole") or the stunningly arranged Morris dance tune "Cuckoo's Nest." It's not just that they're good — although they are — it's that they innately understand how to draw the drama from a piece. Their treatment of the cautionary "Courting Too Slow" is a prime example, teasing out the song, with Boden's full-throated singing almost eagerly embracing the ache of loss in the chorus. The fiddle and box interplay is stunning, as the pair work with almost telepathic communication, filling and backing each other on phrases; you don't even notice the lack of other instruments. With its casually swaggering attitude, this is a sign of how far, and how fast, the young generation of folk musicians in the UK have come.