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YORKSHIRE EVENING POST SATURDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2004

The Silverlode

Tom Napper and Tom Bliss have individually been part of Britain’s folk music circuit locally, regionally and nationally for years. Both have featured at the folk scene’s biggest festivals, and at clubs and concerts the length and breadth of the land. They’ve now come together, and are performing regularly as a duo. The best bit is that they have recorded their first CD.

It doesn’t always follow that two highly accomplished and experienced individual musicians are going to double their appeal or their excellence when they join forces. In the case of Napper and Bliss the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the individual talents, which are the two parts. It begs the question, why didn’t it happen earlier?

The Silverlode is a remarkable CD. The combination of vocals from both performers along with Napper’s tenor banjo, and particularly mandolin and octave mandolin, and Bliss’s guitar, is superb. Throw in Bliss’s abilities as a songwriter for a bonus if you like, though they are much more than that –his songs have power, the enviable ability to stir emotion. There’s plenty here for appreciators of both traditional and contemporary songs and music – whether an Irish jig, Northern English polka, a Scottish air, or a gem like Poor Labourers. The title song, penned by Bliss, tells of silver mining on the Channel island of Sark from where ore was shipped to Hull. It’s a gem, but one among several. Hopefully the duo are already gathering material for their next recording

Pete Lazenby