ALBUM REVIEW Traditional folk makes room for true bluegrass

The Georgia Shackleton Trio are (from left) Nic Zuppardi (mandolin), Georgia Shackleton (fiddle/lead vocalist) and Aaren Bennett (guitar).  Photo by JAMES DE ARA TORRES.
The Georgia Shackleton Trio are (from left) Nic Zuppardi (mandolin), Georgia Shackleton (fiddle/lead vocalist) and Aaren Bennett (guitar). Photo by JAMES DE ARA TORRES.
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The Dog That Would Not Be Washed

The Georgia Shackleton Trio

Self-Released, Out Now

Regulars who celebrated the reopening of Long Sutton’s Old Ship Inn pub on Easter Sunday might have heard the distinctive chords of mandolin, fiddle and guitar.

The Georgia Shackleton Trio, made up of Aaren Bennett (guitar), Nic Zuppardi (mandolin) and fiddle player/lead vocalist Georgia Shackleton, were the distinguished act which helped christen the pub next to Long Sutton Common Pitt.

Some of the songs from the trio’s two sets at The Ship can be found on their debut album, The Dog Who Would Not Be Washed, a title that speaks of Georgia’s “bad experience” when trying to clean her own pet.

Mixing traditional English folk, Georgia’s principal strength after studying the subject at Newcastle University, with Nic’s bluegrass tendencies and Aaren’s throbbing acoustics, the album is a mixture of vocal and instrumental numbers.

The bluegrass influence comes out strongest towards the end of the album on the tracks Katie Dear, with Aaren on lead vocals, Whiskey Kisses and the sparsely sung Little Rabbit.

There’s something quite rural about American music and it links in with the idea of music being part of the community which is how it works in America

Nic Zuppardi, mandolin player, The Georgia Shackleton Trio

Everything else is folk heaven, with a nod to Georgia’s acclaimed ancestor, explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, on the track “Endurance”.

Speaking about the album at The Ship, Nic said: “A lot of the material is folk-based as Georgia’s background is in traditional folk stuff which is quite English.

“I bring more of the bluegrass, improvised American style and Aaren’s sound has a very driving element which gives our music something that has more of a range.

“We can cover quite a ground while doing that and if we introduce different elements to our music, people are more likely to engage with it.

“There’s something quite rural about American music and it links in with the idea of music being part of the community which is how it works in America.

“Our music isn’t a predictable sound, especially for a group which has two members who studied in Newcastle, and we don’t rest on our laurels.”

Review by Winston Brown