Beneath the Black Tree Review
"Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll are both virtuoso fiddlers and with their new album they have succeeded a masterpiece of English folk music. Their playing together is awesome and with three first class guest musicians they have created an innovative and exceptional sound."
Beneath The Black Tree succeeds by presenting traditional music through confident and considerate arrangements that avoid ramshackle pastiche, by opting for a refined performance that owes as much to chamber music as it might to folk music. The recording is beautifully open, allowing you to savour each subtle cadence and appreciate the uncluttered interplay between the instruments.
Fiddle players, composers and workshop leaders Nick and Becki hail from North Devon and produce top drawer music that's gaining them a nationwide reputation as true keepers of the flame. Nick's solo experience and his time with Cornish band Sacred Turf, plus Becki's career as part of the ceilidh group Sundance and with the Angel Brothers, has combined with their passion for the southwest's traditional songs and airs, to produce an album that's simply bursting with vitality and freshness. Barnstaple to Umberleigh is a particular delight, with its light-as-air feel, and this is followed by the old tale of Benjamin Bowmaneer, featuring Nick's strong, deep vocals. Great stuff.
Beneath the Black Tree' isn't played exclusively on fiddles but this is where you'll find the album's heartbeat. It's the thrill of wood and string and the glory of acoustic instruments that is on show here. Two fiddles played with a recorded clarity that lets you follow each microtonal shift as they work in complimentary patterns - akin to a strand of DNA spiralling off in search of a natural conclusion.