Amy Thatcher’s considerable credentials as an accordeon player, composer and musical adventurer are already well-established via her work with Kathryn Tickell, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Monster Ceilidh Band, The Shee and, well, Sting. That’s a remarkably diverse bunch of luminaries to stick on your CV right there, demanding versatility, empathy and open-mindedness – qualities which prominently stand her in good stead on this first solo album.
Almost entirely self-written and completely solo, it actually defies most expectations of instrumental folk music; for she is not only a thoroughly accomplished musician, she’s a thoughtful, explorative one too, mixing up the moods, textures and arrangements in a striking manner that imperceptibly draws you in and refuses to sit quietly in the background while you get on with painting the skirting board.
Some of it is seriously beautiful (Falling Near), some of it sounds darkly melancholic (The Last Dance), some of it gets you bouncing around the sofa (Sleep Spindles), some of it plays with rhythm (The Laburnum Tree), some of it overflows with joy (Jo Lin), some is a little mysterious (Resolution) and some of it is a teensy weensy bit weird (Study One). But what is instrumental music if it doesn’t fill your head with different images and myriad contrasting pictures of sadness, friendship, parting and new beginnings? Thatcher has the innate ability to achieve just that, with both her excellent playing and her inventive tune-making.
So, not just a superior showcase of the accordeon, more a personal expression of the emotional layers a single instrument can touch.
Amy Thatcher AT001 | amythatcher.co.uk
Main pic: Amy Thatcher (Georgia Claire Tyrie)