Album review: Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer, Child Ballads (Wilderland/Cadiz)

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The Independent Culture

Mitchell is a terrific writer in her own right – but not this day.

The "Child Ballads" were already ancient when they were collected in the 19th century. They have seldom sounded as fresh as this. Here, she hooks up with the reedily discreet Hamer to tackle a selection of choice Childs head on: long narratives of mystery, love and betrayal. The playing is exquisite, the singing vibrant, the arrangements like jewellery. It is absolutely beautiful.