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Shores of Amerikay

The release of Shores of Amerikay marks the beginning of the newest record label in town, Regather Music. Formed by the Sheffield-based Regather Co-Operative, the label aims to develop into an established imprint with loads of new artists and bands on board. Their co-operative ethos promises to help their musicians publish and promote new material successfully in an ever-evolving industry. Regather have shown interest in the folk side of music in the past, organising the Folk Forest at Tramlines 2011 which is set to return again at this year's festival. It therefore seems only fitting that their first album comes from the folk musician Michael J Tinker.

Tinker has been part of the scene for about ten years, building an impressive repertoire as a support artist but never fully establishing himself in the limelight. His first album showcases his fantastic connections in the folk world, with contributions from a handful of incredible artists adding layers of depth through the musical talent that they each offer.

The title track starts the album in a soft and contemporary manner. A hybrid of old and new, the lyrics were taken from 'Folk Songs and Ballads popular in Ireland' by John Loesberg and set to a new melody written by Tinker. It's a pretty little number, which gives you a chance to appreciate his clear cut vocals in their own right.

Track two 'Get Along Home Cindy' picks up the pace with a brilliant effort from the Incredible Washboard Pete II on his incredible washboard. This is exactly the kind of track I was hoping for, and I would've loved to have heard a little more of on the album. 'The Snowstorm' hints at more of the same with some fantastic fiddle work from BBC Folk Award nominee Katriona Gilmore. A few more controlled, melodious tracks later and I'm almost begging for the band to go wild. 'House Carpenter' tempts me with a build up but unfortunately no big finale. I can imagine that the track played live would be a different story.

That being said, the merit of the softer tracks is not to be taken away from the talented singer-songwriter. I've had the album playing on repeat for a couple of days and am not tired of a single track. Perfectly soothing and exciting in appropriate measure, I think that Tinker has done a fantastic job of creating an album with all the peaks and troughs of a story, just as any good folk album should. Final track 'Annabel Lee' is a personal favourite. The lyrics are in fact taken from an Edgar Allan-Poe poem with a perfectly crafted melody and the sweetest of harmonies, leaving a delicious after-taste and the promise of more to come from this artist. A fantastic job by all involved.

by Tasha Franek (she/her)