Rounder (www.rounder.com) Topic-UK (www.topicrecords.co.uk)

Tarras They've got the pedigree; they've got the looks; they've got youth (the band averages 21 years of age); but most of all, Tarras have got music in spades. The overseas press has fawned over this quintet from the northern border twixt England and Scotland, and with good reason. Rising is one debut where everything works and there isn't a second when you doubt the band's conviction. For instance, when you are going to cover a song, why not pick a classic you know will go down like a storm and which isn't covered very often? So it's a joy to hear the "Oakey Strike Evictions" dusted off, an homage to Tarras' folk-rock parents (literally) Jack the Lad and Lindisfarne. What's not to like?
"Oakey Strike Evictions"
There is superb, controlled lilting fiddle everywhere from Emma Hancock, a 17-year-old wunderkind who was a finalist for BBC Musician of the Year. When Rod Armstrong picks up his cittern, I hear Donal Lunny. When the band motors away, there's some Bothy Band around the edges. Jon Redfern's percussion reminds me just how influential Davy Cattanach's congas were in Scottish legends Old Blind Dogs.

Tarras' original songs are perfect folk-pop without the cloying overproduction that has dogged other young bands. And their instrumentals will make your ears smoke, especially the glorious "The Happy Salmon" and "Men Should Wear Their Long Hair Down." Bands rarely gel like Tarras at the outset. It sounds so cliched to say "you'll hear much more about Tarras in the future" when with Rising, Tarras has already arrived, their reputation sealed and intact. - Lee Blackstone

Audio file: "Oakey Strike Evictions"
Composed Tommy Armstrong, recording copyright 1999 Topic Records, ltd and Rounder Records, US

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