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The Foxglove Trio - Distant Havens (Foxglove Records)
The task of following their 2015 debut THESE GATHERED BRANCHES was always going to be a bit of an uphill slog for The Foxglove Trio. Amazingly, however, these three outstanding musicians appear to have skipped effortlessly up the incline with DISTANT HAVENS, an album that keeps your ear superglued to the speakers by, once again, delivering a collection of fetching takes on traditional and contemporary songs.
There are so many reasons to love The Foxglove Trio and each engaging facet is at play here. The emphatic melding of Patrick Dean's melodeon and Cathy Mason's cello creates a wonderfully dramatic sound whilst Ffion Mair's crystaline vocals, whether in English or Welsh, can ripple the discs in even the sturdiest spine. Put the trio's voices together for tracks such as the evocative Branwen and ethereal Si Hei Lwli and something verging on pure magic happens.
The highlights of this second release from The Foxglove Trio are in strong supply from the re-imagining of Dave Goulder's January Man, here titled The January Girl and delivering a potent climate change message, to the cunning handling of Foo Fighters lyrics that introduce and conclude the album. There's also a spellbinding choral take on Jean Ritchie's powerful Now is The Cool of the Day which, like many of the tracks here, lifts this record to a higher plane.