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Jim Ghedi - Under the Radar

  by Keith How

published: 9 / 2 / 2018

Jim Ghedi - Under the Radar


In his 'Under the Radar' column, in which he searches out often under-rated musicians, Keith How examines Sheffield-based instrumental musician Jim Ghedi's new release, 'A Hymn for Ancient Land'.

'A Hymn for Ancient Land' is the new offering from Sheffield born, Jim Ghedi, and in many ways is the natural follow-up to 'Home is where I exist now...' (released on Toby Hay’s Cambrian Records last year). This time, on the Basin Rock label, Ghedi has put aside his worldly wanderings and put down his roots in the edgelands between Sheffield and Chesterfield and not a million miles from his beloved Peak District. This record reflects a man who is beginning to find his feet and his roots, and from the opening bars of 'Home for Moss Valley,' you have an other worldly sense of open spaces and stillness. Guitar and violin gently merge, offering a glimpse of how Ghedi responds to his surroundings, bringing a wide pastoral ambience as the album opens. A second instrumental finds Jim paying respect to friend and collaborator, Toby Hay, as he fingerpicks a beautiful composition 'Cym Elan,' inspired by the Elan Valley in Wales . This beautiful track is led by the superb Harp playing from Graham Mcelearney. Together, they weave a magical bucolic tapestry. Launching into 'Bramley Moor,' complete with a haunting slide guitar, this is a composition that reflects big skies and wild winds that sweep across the South East Derbyshire landscape. 'Fortingall Yew' is a beautiful meditation, again featuring Ghedi’s growing guitar technique, and features Morven Bryce’s atmospheric violin playing, a stunning evocation of the timeless nature of the natural world. 'Phoenix Works' and 'Banks of Mulroy Bay' are the two vocal offerings. 'Phoenix Works' is a fine tune that tells a poignant tale of industry in decline with an almost tribal beat led by his constant sideman Neal Heppleston’s insistent double bass, while the moving 'Banks of Mulroy Bay' is a found, traditional Irish song where Ghedi’s voice mourns over lost people and places. A piano softly introduces a melancholic air, and once again, a feature of the delivery is the thoughtful and measured pace. This is lovely, heart moving stuff. The album closes with 'Sloade Lane'. Guitar gently intertwines with violin, brass and bass before an increase in tempo finishes both the song and the album on an upbeat and optimistic note. 'A Hymn for Ancient Land' is a fine offering. Ghedi has surrounded himself with some great friends who just happen to be fine musicians. The aforementioned Heppleston and Bryce. Ben Eckersley (cello) Graham Mcelearney (harp), Nick Cox, Nick Jonah Davis, Nathaniel Mann, Harry Poxon, Sally Rowan Smith, Simon Dumpleton and John Sephton all add colours and tones to an album that is a painterly offering. The album artwork resembles a Rowland Hilder watercolour. Bare trees and autumnal hues and a sense of the timeless landscape reflect the nature of the music Jim Ghedi has created. Make no mistake, there is something stirring in the hedgerows and on the moorlands of our land - A new breed of folk and roots artist, quietly tramping the quiet corners of the country, making great music. Jim Ghedi is one of them. Catch him on tour this spring. p.s. The latest 'Mojo' features a CD of Nick Drake covers. Jim Ghedi contributes a stunning version of 'Black Eyed Dog,' worth the price of the magazine alone!

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Home is Where I Exist, Now to Live and Die (2015)
Ambitious and experiemntal instrumental folk rock which reflects on travelling on latest album from Sheffield-based acoustic guitarist, Jim Ghedi

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