Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne – Outway Songster

Album Review | Wild Goose Records | Review by Damian Liptrot | Stars: 4/5

Possibly a new name to many, CB-K may be a familiar face through his appearances as part of Granny’s Attic, the young trio appearing with increasing frequency at events around the country.  If this upwards trajectory wasn’t enough, Cohen has now commenced a series of solo appearances, featuring nothing other than his melodeons, accordion and voice – which are well deployed throughout the album, all three having gained him nominations and awards.  The Outway Songster of the title refers to the tradition of the journeying musician who serves up popular tunes of the day, as well contributing his own creations to the mix.  The selection of songs are a reflection of Cohen’s current favourites, largely traditional or historically derived, harking back as far as the Victorian period, with some having been developed in the playing and as one would expect are well chosen to reflect his skills and talent.  For one who has come to the folk genre from a less than traditional background, the 12 tracks on the album provide an education as well as an entertainment.  They also establish Cohen firmly within the group of excellent young musicians for whom a combination of historical knowledge and technical excellence will provide them with career opportunities as solo entertainers, group members and project collaborators (see also my recent review of Greg Russell) for many years to come.  As a confirmed listener, rather than participant, a couple of plays of the CD passed with enjoyment and this was aided by the sleeve notes that identified the origins of each of the tracks. For the more proficient or learned amongst us, there were notes as to how the songs had been developed from the originals along with technical info about the instruments played – this will always be of interest to some but is not necessary to enjoy or appreciate the album, though strangely this did add to the feel of authenticity of the collection rather than highlighting ignorance on my part!  This album should do much to cement his deserved reputation as a purveyor of fine musical fayre and I look forward to seeing how this develops, as his immersion in the genre yields inspiration for his own tunes to be passed on in time.