Mawkin – The Fair Essex

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Music Review by Neil Sadler

Folk is going through something of a revival thanks to younger “hipper” artists such as Seth Lakeman and Kate Rusby. Mawkin (an old English term for a scruffy unkempt man) are part of this trend of younger artists inventing new ways of telling old tales.

Built around Jamie Delarre’s frantic fiddle playing and the Alex Goldsmith’s melodeon (like an accordion but a bit beefier sounding), THE FAIR ESSEX is a strong collection of folk instrumentals. These are Traditional Folk tracks and the capital T is deliberate. You know what you are getting with tracks called things like “Banks of the Dee” and “Alexander’s Hornpipe.” That said, these are obviously fine musicians and every track has its own merits. The strangely titled “Something About Tents” is a good example of the way these tracks build and evolve as the song progresses.

However tracks like the beautiful Salsonette (a simple piano tune with hints of guitar and fiddle) showcase a different direction the band could go – ambient folk perhaps!

The Fair Essex is not going to gain any crossover fans – if you don’t like English folk, then this isn’t going to change your mind about it. However this album could act as a good soundtrack to long summer afternoons, whatever your feelings on the genre. You can almost taste the cider.

4 stars