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Brooks Williams and Aaron Catlow - Ready for the Times

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 8 / 9 / 2022

Brooks Williams and Aaron Catlow - Ready for the Times
Label: Red Guitar Blue Music
Format: CD


Fantastic collection of songs with great arrangements and inspired choices that showcase the talents of Aaron Catlow on fiddle and Brooks Williams on guitar.

Brook Williams and Aaron Catlow first met and connected some years ago on tour in the Netherlands. While plans to tour as a duo were halted they collaborated on music for a film about the barn owl, 'Ghost Owl,' nominated for Fatea Awards instrumental album of the year in 2021. They continued to work together to build up a repertoire while waiting for gigs to start up again after lockdowns. Guitarist and songwriter Brooks Williams is based in Cambridge, though he hails from Georgia, USA. Aaron Catlow is based in Bristol, fiddler with Sheelanagig and Afro Celt Sound System and one half of the Bristol based duo Hawes and Catlow, with Kit Hawes. Meeting up at Saltwell Studio in Cambridge they decided to record a live in the studio together, with no overdubs. It’s as simple as an acoustic guitar, a fiddle, great vocals and an inspired selection of songs, performed by superbly talented and experienced musicians. They make it sound easy. Both come from an Americana and Old Time music tradition, with a transatlantic flavour. Opening with Ola Belle Reed’s 'I’ve Endured,' I’m reminded that we have, and the next track, Allen Reynold’s 'Ready For The Times' gives the album its title and its purpose – "I’m ready for the times to get better". There’s a wonderful version of Rab Noakes’ 'Jackson Greyhound', with a soaring fiddle arrangement. Written in the 1920s 'If You Want The Rainbow' could be a song for our times a whole century later. 'Snake Oil', written by Williams and Boo Hewerdine also brings the past into the present. Cheryl Wheeler’s 'Summer Fly' is heartbreakingly poignant. Brook Williams’ 'Love Too Soon' manages to be both lovelorn and upbeat. Jean Ritchie’s 'The L & N' and Pink Anderson’s 'C C & O Blues' get the treatment they deserve. There are two instrumentals, Ernie Carpenter’s haunting 'Elk River Blues' and Williams’ own 'Night Shift'. This album is a joy to listen to. Fingers crossed they get to tour together soon so we get a chance to hear them play live.

Track Listing:-
1 I've Endured
2 Ready For The Times
3 Jackson Greyhound
4 Summer Fly
5 Love Too Soon
6 Elk River Blues
7 If You Want The Rainbow
8 Snake Oil
9 Church Street Blues
10 The L&N
11 CC&O Blues
12 Nightshift (BONUS TRACK)

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