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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