The first time I came across The Dovetail Trio was in a cramped tent at a small music festival several years ago, and I remember being transfixed by their captivating harmonies and their simplistic, cut-down approach to traditional songs. Their debut album ‘Wing of Evening’ continues on this theme, with a beautiful take on many old British tunes. Although this group really is minimalist in their approach to their music, with only a guitar, concertina and their three voices to bring the stories to life, their intelligent adaption of the material to suit their beautiful harmonies and versatile playing means the album manages to hold the listener’s attention all the way through.
Consisting of Matt Quinn, Rosie Hood and Jamie Roberts, The Dovetail Trio are an accomplished group of musicians who aim to present ‘a bold and fresh approach’ to Britain’s musical heritage. The album consists of a mix of traditional and more recent tunes, which gives a pleasing sense of variety to the tracks: fascinating gems such as a Scottish whaling song collected from the Spiers family are placed alongside an adaption of an operatic duet from 1977 and a harrowing song inspired by a doomed Yorkshire regiment that fought in World War One. These beautiful stories are brought to life by the astonishing vocals and three part harmonies of these musicians, who utilise their voices and instruments to make their music truly sound more than the sum of its parts.
The music is accompanied by a stunningly beautiful album cover, detailing the history of each track in turn- this makes the experience of listening also one of exploration, as each new story the group reveals has a heritage and backstory all of its own to tell. The pared-back nature of much of The Dovetail Trio’s music allows the twists and turns of the songs to emerge in their own time, unfolding within the group’s distinct style to reveal itself fully to listener like the uncurling of a leaf to the sun. This album is clearly a strong new voice on the scene of British traditional music- I’m already looking forward to the next time I have the pleasure to hear this trio, though I suspect it will soon have to be at bigger, more established festivals.