FolkWorld #78 07/2022
© G Promo PR / Hudson Records

Banjo Month

'We picked this tune [Apple Blossom] up floating around at the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival in West Virginia one year. It comes from the playing of John Lusk, who was a fiddler known for his work with the Tennessee stringband trio 'Gribble, Lusk and York'.'

Cross The Rolling Water

Hannah Read & Michael Starkey

Artist Video

Following on from the release of Hannah Read’s highly acclaimed solo album Way Out I’ll Wander and after touring it to sell-out audiences in 2017/18 working with the likes of Kris Drever & Darlingside, Hannah has now joined forces with Edinburgh based musician Michael Starkey to record and release their new album Cross The Rolling Water, released on Hudson Records in June & August 2022.

Hannah Read & Michael Starkey

Artist Audio Hannah Read & Michael Starkey "Cross The Rolling Water", Hudson Records, 2022

Fiddler and singer-songwriter Hannah Read met banjo player Michael Starkey at an Appalachian old time session in Edinburgh in late 2019. The moment they first struck up a tune together there was an immediate meeting of musical minds. They have since become a dynamic fiddle and banjo duo, playing repertoire deep from the old time tradition as well as newly self-composed tunes and songs. Cross The Rolling Water was recorded in December 2020 between the lock-downs with Hudson Record’s own Andy Bell, Hannah and Andy first met whilst working together on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Album of the year by Songs of Separation.

Hannah is an award winning Scottish musician based in Brooklyn, NY. She moved stateside to study American fiddle styles and to immerse herself in the thriving string music scene. She has toured extensively, performing solo and collaborating with musicians far and wide including Tony Trischka, Sarah Jarosz and Jefferson Hamer, as well as being one part of the BBC Folk Award winning Songs of Separation.

Michael is a multi-instrumentalist, music teacher and old time banjo enthusiast living in Scotland. His mission as a musician is to keep things simple - clear melody lines underpinned by solid, infectious rhythm. Recent collaborations include with Wayward Jane (Edinburgh-based UK/US folk and roots music 4-piece) and 'Faultlines', a collection of Lisa Fannen's poetry set to music.

“Fiddle/banjo duets date back at least as far as the mid-1800s and probably even farther than that. In more recent times, Earl Scruggs would often dapple a show by partnering with the Foggy Mountain Boy’s fantastic fiddler Paul Warren. Hannah Read and Michael Starkey are carrying on that tradition with great beauty and energy. Hannah’s fiddling is incredibly varied and powerful. Michael’s clawhammer playing is totally in the pocket, warm and perfectly matched. In addition, we are treated to Hannah’s mellifluous voice, which can melt a heart at 20 paces (listen to “Shenandoah”). There are so many joyful moments…Hannah’s fantastically rhythmic and widely varied bowing on “Missouri Wagoner”, linked with Michael’s five-string propulsion, is a case in point. Their playing is so locked in and uplifting that they lift us up with them - a state we all should be inhabiting in these difficult times.” Tony Trischka

"Shenandoah is written by the brilliant Anais Mitchell. When I first heard her play it many moons ago I was drawn in by the hymn-like repetitive melody, along with the vivid imagery it conjured up - I immediately added it to my list of special songs to learn. I love this song and loved recording it in this stripped back setting with guitar and banjo.“

Photo Credits: (1f) Hannah Read & Michael Starkey (unknown/website).

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