England Green & England Grey – album review Telegraph – Martin Chilton

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“In What Would William Morris Say?, the opening track of Reg Meuross’ tenth album, the singer-songwriter quotes from the Victorian writer and campaigner’s poem The Message of the March Wind:

‘Join hope to our hope and blend sorrow with sorrow,
And seek for men’s love in the short days of life.’

What makes England Green & England Grey such an interesting album is the way Meuross blends hope and sorrow. There is optimism and pride about England’s sweeter things (such as the music of Cecil Sharp), and anger and laments over modern-day corruption, inequality and greed (the MPs expenses scandal gets a mention).

Musically, the album stands up – which is no surprise given the quality of performers involved. Meuross, who sings and plays dulcimer, banjo and harmonica, is joined by Philip Henry (dobro); Roy Dodds (drums); Simon Edwards (bass guitar); Mike Cosgrove (keyboards, accordion); Jess Vincent (backing vocals, shruti box); and Chris Haigh. They create a special melodic treat in the six-minutes-long River Rail & Road, and you can sense the vibrant atmosphere there must have been during the recording on The Grand Cru Barge in London’s St Katherine’s Dock.

The song are not all political, though, and the duet love song Lovesick Johnny brings out the tenderness in Meuross’s voice. My favourite track was The Band Played Sweet Marie, about the violin given by Maria Robinson to her fiancé, Wallace Hartley, the bandleader on the doomed Titanic.

Meuross, incidentally, also runs songwriting workshops, including one in France in October and his native Somerset in November.

LINK TO FULL REVIEW HERE

 

 

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