Rachael Gladwin and the Red Socks ‘Melodies and time’ (Inaugural) 4/5

Harpist and vocalist Rachael Gladwin has pursued two separate careers. One working as strictly an accompanyist on harp to spiritual jazzers Matthew Halsall and Nat Birchall; the other as a leader on some folk meets world beats. It is in this latter capacity that we find her on this album which showcases her songwriting talents. The fusion of cello, harp with various African and Latin percussion from cajón and dejembe through to the kora works to perfection on songs such as ‘They pray’ which is a definite album highlight while as a vocalist Gladwin puts in a fine performance on ‘Fade to brown’ which is where the folk influences are most evident. Rachael Gladwin possesses a gentle, lyrical tone and one that is ideally suited to the folk idiom. On this particular song the use of a trombone solo is unexpected, yet convincing. Elsewhere the vocal duet on the brisk cello-led ‘Right now I know’ impresses as does the gentle, melodic opener that is ‘Song for Reuben’ with the sound of the harp underpinning the vocals. Already garnering radio play, expect this album to linger on the ear. Tim Stenhouse

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