‘Gold of Scar & Shale’ is a very fine second solo album from this young Yorkshire singer and multi-instrumentalist. With superb recording and production by Joe Rusby, the singing and playing are of the highest standard.

For me, the album is almost a throwback to a golden age of Gaughan, Carthy, Simpson and a host of Irish performers who set the benchmark for such work in the late 70s and 80s. But nothing wrong with that. It’s great to see and hear such quality work still being produced. This work sits up there with the vibrant Irish work of acts such as Lankum and Lisa O’Neill. High praise indeed.

The CD comes impressively packaged and with detailed, informative song notes. The material sources are varied and demonstrate great attention to the history and latter-day development of traditional songs. Noteworthy influences are James Child’s The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Hammond and Gardiner manuscripts but also from contemporary sources such as the singing of Martin Carthy and the Copper Family.

It’s difficult to pick outstanding tracks as the quality is consistent throughout as is the delivery. ‘I Was Once a Young Ploughboy’, ‘The Lancashire Liar’ and ‘When Jones Ale Was New’ all demonstrate the range of subject.

As noted the playing is tastefully done in an understated but very effective manner. Jack plays guitar, bouzouki, Duet Concertin and Harmonium. Sam Sweeney plays fiddle, Alice Robinson on Northumbrian Pipes, and Sam Fisher on Flugelhorn.

Jack has a busy programme of gigs, mostly in English Folk Clubs. I am not aware of him ever playing in Ireland. Many of his songs have – I suspect – Irish cousins so an adventurous local promoter might think he was worth bringing over for a show or two.

‘Gold of Scar & Shale’ is released on 4th October 2019 and is available via JackRutterMusic.com.