A delightful album with British folk roots.
Yvonne Lyon and her husband David Lyon, have teamed up again with Gareth Davies-Jones and ‘Trace The Line’ is the follow-up to their 2016 album ‘The Space Between’. The ten tracks are on the whole very gentle songs with lots of acoustic guitar and piano from David and the other musicians on the album whilst the vocals are taken care of by Yvonne and Gareth who alternate on the tracks as soloists whilst harmonising with each other and David on various tracks. The album opens with Gareth’s expressive baritone voice taking the lead on ‘Unconditional’ a gentle, folky song that has echoes of the contemporary folk music of the seventies that appeared on record labels such as Transatlantic. The next track is another gentle, acoustic song ‘Trouble’ where Yvonne takes the lead and gives the song a country feel whilst adding mandolin. That’s followed by another warm acoustic song ‘Altitude’ with Gareth taking lead vocals. Next comes ‘In The Riot of Love’ another gentle song with Yvonne leading with Gareth and David on harmonies. On ‘Vision’ it’s the turn of Gareth to take the lead on another ballad and this is followed by an ethereal, whispery sounding Yvonne on a jauntier song ‘The Mystery Inside’ once again featuring her mandolin playing. The seventh track ‘Signs’ is sung by Gareth and is another very gentle, folky, acoustic song with Seonaid Aitken on violin. That’s followed by ‘Comfort In The Tragedy’ a ballad from Yvonne that has a superb cello performance from Pete Harvey that gives the track an aching, melancholic feel with a Celtic quality which isn’t surprising given Yvonne’s Scottish roots.
Then after eight gentle, folky acoustic tracks, the album takes a sharp handbrake turn and the last two tracks are much more upbeat. ‘The End Is Where We Meet’ is distinctly rocky with programmed drums (there’s no drummer credited) and Gareth’s lead vocals – it’s almost poppy in feel! The album ends with ‘Revolution’and keeping with the pattern of the previous nine tracks, Yvonne takes lead vocals on another track that has a Celtic feel to it with its claps and taps, ferocious violin playing from Aitken and a rousing chorus – it’s almost Scottish reel like!
The album was produced by Graeme Duffin, Sandy Jones, Yvonne Lyon, Gareth Davies-Jones and David Lyon and recorded and mixed at The Foundry Music Lab in Motherwell – hence the distinctive Celtic feel on some of the tracks. Apart from the musicians already mentioned, David Lyon also plays bouzouki and accordion, Sandy Jones plays bass and electric guitar, Graeme Duffin is on acoustic and electric guitar and Dan Wheeler also plays electric guitar.
‘Trace The Line’ is an interesting and diverse album that up to the final two tracks is as gentle as a summer breeze. It’s one of those albums that isn’t quite americana – it’s more like a rootsy, British folk album that hasn’t crossed the Atlantic to have a coating of americana sprinkled on it. It’s well worth a listen but if you’re going into your local record store to buy it, it might not be filed under A for Americana.