Album: Cath and Phil Tyler, Dumb Supper (MIE)

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The Independent Culture

Since its original 2008 limited release on tiny independent No-Fi, Dumb Supper has justly acquired a reputation as a touchstone of trad-folk authenticity, its songs culled from friends and family and The Sacred Harp, the 19th-century hymnbook whose songs Cath Tyler is an expert at setting for four-part harmonies.

There's no jessying or jollification about these performances, as befits the material: indeed, there's a sour, astringent quality to her voice that brings doom-laden songs such as "Wether's Skin" to bitterly believable life. Likewise, the duo's a cappella harmonies on "Queen Sally" have a suitably weary manner, while the instrumental work elsewhere has a dry tone redolent of hard times – except for "Devil Song", on which the guitar, fiddle and jew's harp spring along with comparative gaiety.

DOWNLOAD THIS Wether's Skin; Farewell My Friends; Devil Song