From 1993, a reminder that these two kids — Chris Wood and Andy Cutting — originally came together over a shared fascination for Quebecois music. I don’t recall many times seeing Andy on a one row, though I do see a couple in his list of gear.
This is the first time in 135 posts that I’ve written about a subject that has absolutely no accordéon content at all, but I trust my readers will not accuse me of breaking our implicit contract or breaching some sort of squeezebox point of etiquette.
The fact of the matter is that Chris Wood has released a new recording, None the Wiser, and it has come to dominate my every waking moment. If you don’t know — and even if you do know — Wood is a highly regarded English folk musician and songwriter. On the current recording he centers the groups sound around a sort of baritone urge (his wonderful voice), and the featured instruments are his guitar, upright bass, and hammond organ. Yes, that’s what I said! Wondrous!
I urge you to seek it out (it’s available on Bandcamp now). It will vastly increase the probability of your having a great day. It will improve your quality of life.
Here’s Chris talking about the new recording:
UPDATE: Novelist Tom Brown wrote about None the Wiser, exploring the joys of instant Bandcamp access. Read that here.
This is the fifth piece in a series about Andy Cutting. Click through for parts one, two, and three … and also some pictures of his boxes.
The duets of Andy Cutting and Chris Wood are among the high points of English and European folk music. That’s not hyperbole. Cutting’s solo playing is a thing of beauty. The work with Blowzabella is a spectacle to be adored. The Cutting and Wood duets are something else.
In the middle of our conversation in December, Andy Cutting went on a wander, performing here, teaching workshops there. I had asked him some questions about the partnerships of his career — especially Blowzabella and Chris Wood. At the end of February, the answers arrived.
Could you talk about Blowzabella? How did you encounter them, and then join?
|Andy Cutting with Blowzabella|
I knew of Blowzabella for several years before I really met them. Through seeing them at various English folk festivals. In fact before I played the box! When I started to play, I went to a box workshop run by Riccardo Tesi at Sidmouth folk festival. Paul James, [Blowzabella’s piper and sax guy], was helping Riccardo and they asked me to play a bit. I discovered some years later that on hearing me pay Riccardo turned to Paul and said “you need to get him in Blowzabella.” Dave Roberts, box player, had recently left and Dave Shepherd (the violin player) was leaving, so that meant they wanted someone to fill their shoes. Fortunately for me I was in the right place at the right time. They asked me to a few of their gigs and then I received a letter saying I was now in the band.
Fa la la la la …
What does l’Accordéonaire want for Christmas?
Je suis content, usually, and I don’t spend a lot of time desiring things, and when I do, I make sure it’s an important thing that will improve my quality of life. Something related to accordéons. But Christmas invites the question: what do you want, darling? Here are four things that seem especially cool to me.
Vent de Galerne: I don’t know how it is that I don’t already have this CD, but I don’t. What I’ve heard is gobsmackingly beautiful. The latest endeavor by La beloved Chavannée is focused on a nautical theme. There’s a lot of synergy between Vent de Galerne and the river boat built by the clan last year. Free samples can be heard over on myspace (of all places), and the CD can be ordered from the Chavs themselves, here.
The Early Andy Cutting/Chris Wood recordings: more stuff I should already have, but they seem to be hard to find, especially on this side of the pond. The relatively few recordings I can get — Albion, Handmade Life, Andy’s eponymous recording, etc. — have become the soundtrack for this six month of my life. What an amazing thing that two such talents should have found each other in the world.
A Trip to France: Yeah, well …
A Wesson Melodeon: I decided some months ago — probably just moments after playing my Nik for the first time — that my next box would be a one row in D. I’ve done a lot of looking, and have gotten my heart set on a box by Rees Wesson in Welshpool, Wales. My goal is to use it to play some of the French Canadian repertoire local to Maine, and to start dipping back into the reels and jigs (flashback to the tin whistle, Irish session days in Minnesota …) Actually, I’ve always loved Irish on the one-row (no, that’s not me). One-rows also have a tradition in East Anglian music, and, of course, in Cajun music. Here’s Rees playing the Bristol Hornpipe:
All right, so I guess I’m not all that great at producing the list o’ stuff to buy, a la Oprah or Rachel Ray. Cross marketing? Not for me. One thing I’d like, no one can give me: time to make more music! What do you, dear reader, want for your accordion Christmas?
Part One is Here.
Andy Cutting does NOT have an accordéon collection. Listening to Andy Cutting, one is entranced, of course, by his playing, but one also marvels — perhaps with a modicum of jealousy — at the sound of his instruments. I asked Cutting about his instruments. Is he a gear hound? Does he have a collection?
I wouldn’t say I was a gear hound at all. I’m primarily driven by playing music on a machine and have the instruments I feel I can best do that. I don’t really have a collection, as such. Although my wife would say otherwise! For those who are interested, the boxes I have are:
- Hohner Pokerwork D/G (my first box which I still play at home)
- Hohner one row four stop G
- Hohner Club 3 D/G
- One of those Chinese one rows
- A small two row CBA thing that John Tams got in the Crimea when he was filming Sharp,
- Castagnari Mignon Gish,
- Two Castagnari Max, one in D and one in A
- Castagnari Lilly D/G (bought by mistake!)
- Castagnari Handry 18 G/C
- Oakwood (I’ve no idea what model. It was made for me), two row 21 button, 8 bass with stop for the thirds, G/C Bandoneon (octave) tuned,
- Two Castagnari Mory C/F and, finally,
- Castagnari Mory D/G (my most used and favorite box)
|With Chris Wood|