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Once Upon A String

Album Review by Sean Laffey, IMM Dec 2020


Once Upon A String

Opus Asia Records, 10 Tracks, 54 Minutes 

This is the third album from duo Steve and Jane Gerrity; we have recently reviewed John O'Dreams, their CD of classic folk songs and Watercolour Clouds, their album of originals and contemporary covers.

Once Upon A String is an album featuring nine of their own compositions, with a prologue called Tapestry, where Jane sets out a lush harmonic menu of their intentions for this album. She has a powerful folk rock voice, impeccably controlled, no muffle or mumbling, each word lands bulls-eye on your ear. There's almost a 1980’s Eurovision vibe on Follow The Sun; remember when songs had catchy tunes that didn't get lost in a huge production? Tapestry invests a full drum kit and keyboard from Lol Harris on this track.

Melody is obviously important in their own songs, even when they dress them up with a waterfall of strings on Sail Home To Me. A wind blows in and a church bell chimes on Jane Eyre; this is stripped backed singing from Jane, her vocals fragile, almost alone, keyboard drones smoothing out that bleak Pennine gale. There's more than a thimbleful of Gothic angst in Fiery Dragon and the Lady of Shalott, both harnessing the power of an imagined past to tell us about the present in allegorical tale.

The one cover on the album is Sting's Walking on the Moon. Tapestry's interpretation brings out the human story; yes the Lune is there, but the exposition is different to Sting's, somehow more personal, more grounded, shifting from pop to folk. The last track is the showstopper, Once Upon A String, asks the question: I wonder where that glorious melody came to me?; and answers, that it was once upon a string. Tapestry weaves their music both ways, the warp of the old, the weft of the new, coloured by panoramic arrangements and dusted with magical imagination.

Sean Laffey

Irish Music Magazine, 2020 Annual Edition