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Comus/Shirley Collins/Stephanie Hladowski & Chris Joynes (live at Islington Assembly Rooms)

London 21 September 2013

It is a mild, early autumn Saturday night and Upper Street is the very picture of modern urban revelry. Outside the doorways of fashionable bars and clubs, the pavements are clotted with thick knots of drinkers and smokers, the ‘dun-tsch, dun-tsch, dun-tsch’ beat of anonymous dance music bleeding out from their dimly-lit interiors into the warm evening air.

There is scarcely a free chair around the outside tables of the chi-chi restaurants, every surface groaning under cornucopia of plenty: pan seared scallops, herb roasted pork tenderloin and quinoa-crusted plaice, chilled Chablis and Blue Mountain double espresso. Everywhere stand men with casually unbuttoned striped shirts and hair thick with extra-hold gel, whilst women with glowing blonde hair and micro-skirts totter atop their high heels. An enormous shocking pink stretch Hummer glides past, one of its darkened rear windows lowered as a girl clutching a precarious flute of

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Stephanie Hladowski and C. Joynes – The Wild Wild Berry

Bo’Weavil

Stephanie Hladowski & C. Joynes - The Wild Wild BerryHere we have a collection of British folk song interpretations by guitarist Chris Joynes and singer Stephanie Hladowski. Without even listening to this album, one can’t help recall the inspiring union of singer Shirley Collins and guitarist Davey Graham on the 1964 album Folk Roots, New Routes – a regular spinner in my car’s CD player.

From listening to The Wild Wild Berry, I find my deconstructive mind pondering the words ‘New Routes’ in Collins’ and Graham’s album title. When comparing the two albums, it’s hard to find what’s new in the approach of Hladowski and Joynes’ 2012 British folk interpretations. However, this leads me to think: why fix something that doesn’t need mending? There’s

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