Gordon Bok,
Ann Mayo Muir
& Ed Trickett,
All Shall Be Well Again
(1997; Folk-Legacy, 1999)

Like a warm, gentle breeze blowing across the sails of life, Ed Trickett, Gordon Bok and Ann Mayo Muir breathe life into their collaborations with gentle grace and heartfelt passion. The result is contemplative, yet exciting music, showing off the talents of all three musicians. Their disparate backgrounds and skills combine into an unquestionably enchanting collaborative effort.

Some of the greatest work on the recording is delivered a cappella or with very little accompaniment. Take, for example, the stirring "My Images Come," sung in chilling three-part harmony, with a light percussion part joining in. "Rory Dall" opens in haunting unison, and broadens out to harmonic vocals. Similarly, "Sailor's Prayer" begins with a deep solo voice singing the melody, joined on the chorus by harmony vocals. The soft, gentle song brings hope and comfort to those facing the dark, winter nights of New England.

The title of the recording comes from the chorus of the opening track, "Julian of Norwich." The gentle hammered dulcimer and guitar accompaniment give the exact hopeful peace that communicates the sentiment promised in those chorus words, "All shall be well again."

Other songs on the recording include "Farewell to the Gold," an Australian mining song; Jerry Rasmussen's rhythmic "Living on the River;" and a traditional version of a Child ballad, "Jennifer Gentle." There are also several instrumentals: the jazzy "St. Thomas," as delivered on hammered dulcimer and 12-string guitar, and a trio of Gordon Bok originals, "Archie/Namagati/Odivair," which show off Bok's flexibility as a composer.

Perhaps the most moving piece on the recording is Gordon Bok's original instrumental, "Manticus." Delivering a sad, soulful melody that turns into an upbeat dance melody, this composition will stick with you long after listening. Bok's heartrending tale of the impact of the death of a childhood friend upon his life is beautifully related in the liner notes, and is the source of inspiration for the tune.

The recording ends with a particularly beautiful song, the Scottish "Fear a' Bháta," accompanied by a gentle, moving guitar line that sounds much like the rippling of the water across the bottom of the boat as it journeys home to the waiting lady. It is unusual to hear this sung in English, as Ann Mayo Muir does here. The chorus is kept in the traditional Scots Gaelic, albeit an imperfect version. The harmonies are beautifully rendered by Bok and Trickett on this lovely song.

[ by Jo Morrison ]

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