The British folk scene has produced a series of impressive dynasties, and this looks like the start of yet another. Blair Dunlop is the 20-year-old son of Ashley Hutchings, famed for his role as co-founder of Fairport Convention, and this assured debut set shows that he is already an accomplished guitarist and singer, with considerable potential as a song-writer. His style is impressively varied, switching from thoughtful, drifting ballads to more upbeat songs, often with an American country or bluegrass edge, and a series of covers. It’s often his instrumental work that is most distinctive, from the finger-picking guitar on Secret Theatre (his contribution to the “who wrote Shakespeare?” debate) to the piano playing on The Gown, another unlikely ballad, dealing with the Mormon belief that women can become angels. Elsewhere, he tackles more predictable topics, from stifled lives to the dumbing down of the arts. He’s at his best on the traditional Black Is the Colour and a bleak, previously unrecorded Richard Thompson song, Seven Brothers. The American band Larkin Poe add classy support on several songs – and his dad makes one appearance on bass.
Blair will be making an appearance at The Basement Discs on Wednesday 12th March at 12:45.