Jenn and Laura-Beth, Bound for Southern Fried.

Amongst the acts scheduled to appear at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival next week are Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter. With both artists involved in a multitude of other projects their appearance as a duo should be keenly anticipated. It also provides the perfect excuse, if one were needed, to take a closer look at their rather excellent album, ‘Bound.’

Released at the end of 2016, ‘Bound’ from Jenn & Laura-Beth is one of those albums that will sound fresh and new no matter how many times you play it. Having worked together for over eight years as stalwarts of the folk scene you would expect there to be a high level of understanding between the pair. They deliver on that promise and much more. The combination of Jenn Butterworth’s guitar and Laura-Beth Salter’s mandolin playing takes on an almost magical quality. With both musicians’ masters of their instruments, the understanding between them and subtlety of touch creates a remarkable sense of synergy throughout the entire eleven tracks. The same thing is true of the vocals. Whether they are singing individually or harmonising, the results are never less than uplifting.

A mixture of self-penned tunes and cover versions, ‘Bound’ has been recorded as the tracks would be played live. With playing this good there really is no need for any additional studio trickery. Opener ‘Let the Sunshine Down on Me’ should be more than enough to get most listeners hooked. ‘The Braver One’ written by Laura-Beth Salter demonstrates perfectly why no additional instruments were required, Jen Butterworth’s guitar ably carrying out the duties of an entire rhythm section.

The beautiful rendition of Boo Hewerdine’s ‘Wings On my Heel’ is an absolute delight, the unfussy instrumental backing allowing the vocals to shine brightly. Instrumental tracks such as ‘1, 2, 3, 4 / Joseph Salters’ are wonderful wee musical journeys which will leave the listener in no hurry to reach their destination.

An atmospheric cover of Mindy Smith’s ‘Come to Jesus’ closes the album. It’s a gorgeous end to a collection which screams quality from start to finish,  a genre crossing joy to spend time with.

You can purchase ‘Bound’ here.

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