Carry Me On
with Daniel Haché
Written by Stephen Jones, 21 June 2022
Birds of all kinds. The moon and stars. Angels and the mystery of crossings to an unknown shore. These are recurring themes in this fine new folk album from Sutton-based singer and musician, Trisha Pope.
Nine joyful, tender, heart-warming songs. Five are traditional: three from African-American sources, one from Québec, and one from the Innu people. The four numbers written by Trisha sound equally traditional and right at home with the rest.
The beating heart of this compelling album is… the banjo. But, attention, not the brash bluegrass variety: this is the gentler “minstrel” banjo with silky gut strings tuned low. Fiddles, percussion and guitar weave in and out of its soft but oh-so-steady pulse, allowing space for Trisha’s strong, clear vocals to shine, along with those of her chief collaborator, Daniel Haché.
Daniel also contributes fiddle, didgeridoo and a plethora of percussion, plus French lyrics for the poignant, bilingual “Great Unknown.” Trisha plays banjo, and flute in one song, “Yellow Jewel,” giving us a hint of her jazz background, with fine guitar work from Jerry Bowers. Recording engineer Pascal Gemme chimes in with occasional guitar, vocals and percussion, and an achingly plangent fiddle in the opening track, Trisha’s “Carry Me On.”
When Trisha announced she had taken up the banjo, some – aware of her life in jazz and her work as a choir director and voice coach – may have raised a discreet eyebrow or two. They were not to know that she was revisiting her formative years as a teenager on the American folk scene. And listening to the result of Trisha’s return to her roots – this glorious album – any arched brows will surely give way to broad, grateful smiles.