Robin James Hurt: The Market House E.P. Review

Robin James HurtFolk music and me have a long standing complicated relationship. Once it goes to diddly aye territory, I’m outta there. Hearing the new E.P. though, from Robin James Hurt (with the Band of Moonlight Love) has given me quite a smile.

The CD opens with an original instrument composition, ‘The Doonbeag Waltz’, a tender mandolin led piece beautifully intertwined with delicate guitar and string arrangement.

Hurt has taken traditional songs and given them his own arrangements. Traditional instruments are flanked by drums and bass guitar and Hurt’s raspy vocals make these songs his own.

I defy anyone not to sing ‘Yarmouth Town’ after hearing. An uptempo English folk song with a memorable hook and incorporated hand clap.  Hurt’s delivery and storytelling ability shines through on ‘Arthur McBride’.

As I’m writing this, something strikes me, the list and quality of Irish based musicians is quite a feat. Then the name of bass player Steve Walters, jumps at me? No? It couldn’t be, could it? Yes it is, Steve is an amazing bass player, who has played with George Michael and actually played with Sophie B. Hawkins at a gig I organized in Dublin in 2005. Nice musician selection Mr Hurt!

Back to the music, the instrumental arrangement of ‘The Shores of Lough Gowna/The Market House Jig’ is uplifting and although there’s a mandolin with the central line throughout, there’s enough with the bodhran and guitar not to make it so trad.

‘The Braes of Balquhidder/Will Ye Go Lassie Go’ again showcases Hurt’s vocals. These are accompanied by a simple guitar line, fiddle and some lovely harmonies.

It is really unusual for me to like this kind of thing but I’ve had this on repeat since I got it. Robin James Hurt just raised the bar. This is traditional folk for the 21st century.