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March 2004

Hi Everyone!!

And a massive thankyou! I'm totally overwhelmed and taken back by how well my debut CD 'Eyes Wide Open' has been recieved. www.MusicScotland.com have informed me that my CD is in their top selling CD's February 2004. Please see below reviews received to date.

The Gig List is filling up nicely for the year, which surprises me as I knew a February release of my CD, was late in the year as far as festivals are concerned for bookings. Nevertheless, I'm hoping to be doing far more folk club performances this year, clocking up the mileage on Mum's car (thanks Mum!).

Enquiries are coming in from agents in Spain and Sweden, who I met at Celtic Connections, but this will probably be next year.

Did support for the wonderful Flook last night (lovely people), and sold loads of CD's, and made lots of friends.

Hope to see you all at a festival or venue soon, please come and say hello.

Love Harriet x


Reviews

Daily Telegraph

Musicians of the calibre of Phil Cunningham, Karen Tweed and Sharon Shannon have just about cleared the accordion or guilt by association with the White Heather Club, the 1950's BBC series with it's cosy, well-scrubbed depiction of Scottish country-dancing.

Every so often, however, mention of the instrument still raises a sneer; perhaps it will take Harriet Bartlett's generation to complete it's rehabilitation.

She has heaps of promise, and looks that would give her a headstart in any TV pop star contest.

Several pieces on this debut, produced by Cunningham, her great friend and mentor, are Bartlett's own compositions and sit respectably alongside traditional tunes and examples of other writers' work.

Culloden's Harvest and the Richard Thompson / Dave Swarbrick classic Crazy Man Michael are mightily impressive. Sharper ears will detect occasional vocal and instrumental wobbles. Harriet Bartlett is not yet Sharon Shannon. But then, Shannon is not 17.


Living Tradition Magazine

I was going to avoid the "youthful exuberance" cliche - but then I remembered that cliches get into usage for good reasons.

This CD, from a teenage tearaway of the accordion, sparkles and engenders gasps and smiles in equal measure. I'm not a box player, but this sounds like hellishly good box-playing to me.

There are rapid-fire tunes such as the quirky "Music for a Found Harmonium" and slow, sensitive tunes such as Harriet's own "Philly Boy" waltz - written for mentor and producer Phil Cunningham.

Wisely, Harriet has also decided to give her tonsils some exercise and turns in excellent versions of Richard Thompson's "Crazy Man Michael" (not in the least over-awed by Sandy Denny's version.), Alastair McDonald's "Culloden's Harvest" and Huw Williams' well-loved "Some People Cry". The addition of songs definitely broadens this CD's appeal.

If I were to struggle for a criticism to give this review credibility, it would be that Harriet over-reaches herself very slightly on the unaccompanied "My Donald" and uses too many exclamation marks in her sleeve notes (!) - but this is a nit-pick from a pedantic old fan of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves".

The whole feel of this is a multi-talented wide-eyed (as per CD title) teenage enthusiast having a ball discovering the richness of music that is out there already in folk and adding to it. More of this, please.

Written by Alan Murray. Issue 55 March/April 2004


Tony Bates (3WBC 94.1FM), Melbourne

For a first album, Harriet Bartlett's "Eyes Wide Open" contains plenty of gems that will resonate for hours after listening to the album.

The production and the backing are excellent, but for me the stand out track has to be Crazy Man Michael.

To take on a song, written by Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick for Fairport Convention, and originally sung by Sandy Denny is no mean feat. Harriet's version reflects the original's depth and meaning, and simply shines through; what a talent!

Whilst totally revelling in Harriet's accordion playing, and the great musicianship of Phil, Ed and Mark, all I request is more vocals next time please.


The Folk Mag

It gives deep pleasure to see such a good record from someone at the start of what looks to be a long and talented career. Harriet Bartlett has been known as a skilled musician in Shropshire for a number of years now. She is sixteen years old. How's that for a promising start?

She plays piano accordion and many of the tunes are self-penned, so for anyone looking for new tunes here is a fresh selection. Philly Boy is written for Phil Cunningham who plays piano, cittern and whistles on the CD. Ed Boyd plays guitar and Mark Maguire the bodhran. Aly Bain commends her on the sleeve notes. Harriet comes well recommended and rightly.

Dick Gossip's/Jean's Reel shows off her clean instrumental technique. Oh, to play anything so skilfully and with such apparent ease. The Roses is another of her tunes. It is slow, sentimental and played just as artfully.

Reel Beatrice is a lovely swift traditional French Canadian tune, so well played it is one of the best on the CD. The Arrival of Katy Broom and of Robin Todd - written by herself - are to my mind equally as tasty. She also plays one of the best versions of Music for a Found Harmonium (Simon Jeffes) I have ever heard.

Although not necessarily well known for her singing, she also picks some unusual songs to sing. Culloden's Harvest, written by Alastair McDonald, is a fresh retelling of a true old crime. Some People Cry will be remembered as written by Huw Williams. She sings it just right, simply, delicately bringing out the pain in the words.

The title tune, Eyes Wide Open (Bartlett), according to her notes is written about a batch of quail eggs hatching and one chick after another running around herded by the mother. It is completely apt.

One skilful track after another pops up on this CD, delightfully running around the listener's mind. As Aly and Phil said in the sleeve notes, "Go get 'em Harriet!".

Written by Jane Kremer and Dave Thomas


Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham

When Phil and I first met Harriet at a concert in Newcastle a few years ago, little did I think that this young girl was going to pursue her career with the fervour she has. We have had the great pleasure of watching her musicianship grow ever since.

Now, at the age of 16 she has achieved a goal she had even then...Her first CD is in the bag! Harriet has assembled here, a fine collection of tunes and songs, some trad, some contemporary and some of her own compositions, all of them played with grace and dexterity.

She is composing with a maturity far beyond her years and if this is her first outing on CD... I can't wait to hear the next. Go get ‘em Harriet!


Graham Radley's Roots Pages www.netrhythms.co.uk

Originally classically trained Harriet was attracted to folk through her love of Celtic music.

She's had lessons with some of the greats like Karen Tweed and Phil Cunningham and now moved on to develop her own style which has seen her win various awards including last years Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections.

Now, still only 16, she delivers her first CD & it's a good little collection of something old and something new including several of her own compositions.

I especially like her version of Huw Williams' Some People Cry. The future's safe.


Scottish and Irish Trad Celtic Music Store

An enthusiastically welcomed release for a talent tipped to go all the way to the top. So you really should get in on the ground floor - and support fresh new talent.


Scottish Music Direct

Bright and breezy tune sets from young box-player Harriet, winner of the Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections 2003.

Some great traditional tunes, some amazing contemporary ones, and a couple of songs. Traditional folk from a very up-to-date young lady.