Album Review - Ian Carr & Karen Tweed / SHHH

SHHH was first released in 1995, and has been unavailable for the last decade or so.  Karen Tweed was a founding member of The Posies and later played with Ian Carr as part of the Kathryn Tickell Band. They had previously met at a festival and Carr’s distinctive guitar style had impressed Tweed. This is a digital re-issue and the merits of such an undertaking are clear. It showcases Carr and Tweed at their mesmerising best with piano accordion and guitar in a combination that at times seems other worldly.

They extract the strongest lines of rhythm possible from the 12 arrangements. The chordal progressions and alternating picking of melodic lines by Carr is integral to the robust and attacking arrangements. They shift roles within the tracks with Tweed ably supporting Carr when required. On a set of jigs called Rory, Carr demonstrates the scope and scale of what a guitar can do with Tweed supporting. On Reel Beatrice, Tweed leads and demonstrates a lightening touch and an ability to shift from sensitive to robust in a flash.

This is an outstanding re-release that comes at a time when traditional music has expanded into so many modern and contemporary settings.  It shows just how far ahead of the curve Carr and Tweed were some 20 years ago. These are two supreme musicians having the time of their life. It's a lesson for all on the energy that can explode from two instruments when inspiration and talent collide. Quite an extraordinary recording and very much recommended.
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