[alternative folk, ambient, classical] (2019) Neal Heppleston - F...

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Description

(2019) Neal Heppleston - Folk Songs for Double Bass  


Review:  
Though double bassist Neal Heppleston‘s joined by a generous number of friends on his half-hour debut album (eighteen appear in different combinations on seven of the eight pieces), Folk Songs for Double Bass never loses its up-close-and-personal character; it certainly helps that the release cover sports a woodblock image Heppleston himself created, carved, and hand-printed (using West Yorkshire Print Workshop’s Imperial Platen Press). The eight instrumentals are transpositions of popular folk songs in arrangements by the double bassist, but his fingerprints are all over the release, figuratively and otherwise. In the opening “Willie of Winsbury,” his earthy double bass provides an unshakeable ground for the bowed strings of Roo O’Hare (viola and Ben Eckersley (cello) and the atmospheric shadings of electric guitarist David Broadhurst and harmonium player Jim Ghedi. Aptly titled, “Bows of London” augments the leader with Paul O’Connor and Martin Usher on violins, Jason Curteis on viola, and Lucy Revis on cello; a seven-minute folk-and-neo-classical hybrid, the tune opts for stately melancholy in its shanty-styled melodies and luscious string quartet textures. The makeshift quintet reappears on “Spencer the Rover,” the effect of this second performance not dissimilar in its melding of folk themes and classical strings and the tune itself striking for a rather Nick Drake-like melodic quality. In marked contrast to the sombre demeanour of “Bows of London,” “Push the Business On” favours a lilting country-styled tone, the effect bolstered by the presence of lap steel guitar (Nick Jonah Davis) and banjo and dulcimer (Sharron Kraus). Adding arresting colour to the relaxed flow of “Just as the Tide was Flowing” are Julie Ann Horan on musical saw, Heather Ditch on flute, and James Street on piano and tape delay. In a nice departure from the small-group approach otherwise adopted, “The Minstrel Boy” features an unaccompanied Heppleston, even if the moment lasts but eighty seconds. Occupying the other end of the scale is “Bonny Ship the Diamond,” which augments the leader’s muscular pulse with two horns (trumpeter Sally Rowan Smith, trombonist Harry Poxon) and two drummers (Guy Whitaker, Andrew Hirst). Though considerable pleasure is derived from the sonic abundance the other instruments contribute to the recording, a setting such as “Spanish Ladies” emphasizes how satisfying the leader’s double bass is when it resounds most clearly. As the foundational element in all eight performances, his instrument serves as a constant reminder that the project’s his and his alone.


 


Tracklist:  
01 - Willie of Winsbury
02 - The Minstrel Boy
03 - Bows of London
04 - Push the Business On
05 - Spanish Ladies
06 - Bonny Ship the Diamond
07 - Spencer the Rover
08 - Just as the Tide Was Flowing


Summary:  
Country: UK
Genre: alternative folk, ambient, classical


Media Report:  
Source: CD
Format: FLAC
Format/Info: Free Lossless Audio Codec, 16-bit PCM
Bit rate mode: Variable
Bit rate: ~ 850-872 Kbps
Channel(s): 2 channels
Sampling rate: 44.1 KHz
Bit depth: 16 bits

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