Rychard Carrington reports on Jim Moray and Stuart Masters – The Junction, Cambridge 21 September 2010

Jim Moray
Junction 2, The

Support act Stuart Masters, hailing from Essex, really impressed. A singer-songwriter, but most pertinently an accomplished guitarist, he took us into some very rich territory, playing in a trio with another guitarist and a percussionist. There were world music influences - notably Indian and Arabic - and a 1970ish vintage hippy troubador feel (Gorgon Giltrap and Roy Harper were covered). He was, deservedly, very well received for a newish act. He could go far.


Jim Moray confirmed the strong impression he made when I saw him at this very venue eighteen months ago (reviewed here). Far from being controversial, subversive, etc. etc., he is a thoroughly pleasant young chap, a man with a deep interest in the folk tradition, possessed of an imaginative creativity and a lot of talent. Tonight he was playing with James Delarre (mostly hurdy-gurdy,fiddle and electric glockenspiel; a survivor from the previous line-up), Saul Rose (melodeon; he gets about a bit, doesn't he, folk fans?), and drummer Dave Burbidge. Occasionally I could have done without the rather loud drums, but generally the mix of instruments (with Moray on various electric and acoustic guitars, and occasionally keyboards) was as satisfying as it was fresh. A brief section in which Jim played solo (Long Lankin, Clyde Water and the partcularly fine Poverty Knock) added to the variety still further. Unlike Seth Lakeman, Moray talks to the audience between songs, communicating his passion for his material, which often blends the traditional with his own composing in the same song).


Moray does go in for innovations; although  too much emphasis on these can give slightly the wronng impression, in their own right they do impress. Tonight there were two live satellite links: Lucy Wan's rap section was provided by Bubbz on a video screen projected above the band; more gently, Hannah Peel contributed vocals to Jenny Of The Moor via the same medium. I hope this doesn't catch on, causing musicians to feel they can get away with staying at home while contributing to live shows, but on this occasion both arrangements worked well. More traditional vocal extras were provided by the audience - including a turn each of 'just the ladies' and 'just the gentlemen', for the encore All You Pretty Girls. You wouldn't get that happening at a Lakeman or an Oysterband gig.


Still under thirty, Moray is an outstanding figure in contemporary folk music, a worthy successor to the likes of Martin Carthy and Nic Jones.


Writer: Rychard Carrington