English folk dance trio show their experience and class on this largely self-penned release

Label: Hudson Records
Time: 10 tracks / 45 mins

It’s not easy to make a compelling album with just fiddle, melodeon and acoustic guitar, but when you’ve played live together for years, that experience gives you a gut feeling about how to construct an engaging set.

Tom Moore, Archie Churchill-Moss and Jack Rutter had already been cultivating that experience when they won the BBC Young Folk Award in 2011 and they have worked since with more established folk artists like Sam Sweeney (from Bellowhead), Seth Lakeman and the boundary-pusher Jim Moray. So they know their stuff.

This album was recorded live in the studio and – to me – Moss’s melodeon comes across most potently, with Moore’s fiddle and viola blending well and Rutter’s guitar adding picking and a more rhythmic drive. So, unadorned and live, this replicates their performance style and you can sense them playing off each other.

This is generally more toe-tapping than foot stomping though, the studio bringing out the refinement and concentration in their work.

That said, there is a real oomph to “Archer Street/ Somerset Safehouse,” where the initial riff is one you can listen to for a long time, and they emphasise it with extended unison playing. You could call it English dance music at its best.

To keep the variety flowing, following that track come a decidedly international medley and then a mellower piece, so the band has ordered out sameness.

Moore Moss Rutter are firmly instrumental in their approach and, while it won’t necessarily affect your impression of the music, many self-penned tracks are about things as far apart as an unearthed cast iron bell, a family cat, a London Street and Moore’s parents’ house. Places consistently inspire tracks, with seven tunes – and this is a highly tuneful collection – inspired by the mood of a location, such as “Blakeney Point,” England’s “best” place to watch seals.

Later, the band take on others’ work – a minuet from Purcell, a Danish wedding tune and a traditional English dance tune. Fine stuff.

Derek Walker