Album Review - Demaris Woods / With a Banjo on my Knee

I had the pleasure many years ago of listening in to sessions which included Damaris Woods and her mesmerising banjo playing.  Memories such as dates and locations may have faded, but what will not fade is the music or the talent that was, and still is so evident.  She was born in Luton and was part of what could be described as a ‘golden generation’ of young musicians that took London by storm. She also had great success in the Fleadh Cheoil competitions and is rightly regarded as one of this country's top banjo players. On this recording she has created something that steps outside of the norm in a positively entertaining way. It mixes various influences that includes an early 1850's Oh Susana to duelling banjos with orchestrated keyboard introductions and on to pure traditional jigs like The Castle Jig/Green Groves of Erin/Damp in the Attic with orchestrated intro.  

It's a slightly different approach with breaks in the music filled with drum rolls and the sound of Demaris's banjo soaring throughout.  Likewise Jenny's Welcome to Charlie and many other tracks have a detailed rhythm section which works very well creating a musical soundscape that you would not normally hear with traditional music. The march Garryowen dating from 1745 is played with an intricate harpsichord intro leading into a jig.  Lough Mountain/The Bird's Nest/McElvogues No. 6 are again resplendent with a thunderous bass intro and bodhrán , bass, banjo and keyboards to close out.  With 18 tracks in total it is an interesting, varied and multi layered approach to the music.
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