This four-track EP of acoustic guitar and double bass from the Scotland-based duo of Garrett and Lowit – augmented by string quartet on In Arden – is an attractive and readily accessible collection of tunes.
The duo name-check Danny Thompson and John Martyn, Ron Carter and Jim Hall, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen and Joe Pass, and Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny as previous practitioners of the guitar/bass art, but none of those legendary pairings are too obviously reflected in the sound of Garrett and Lowit as shown here: Thompson and Martyn at their most relaxed is perhaps the best point of comparison.
In Arden combines guitar, bass and string quartet in a lushly romantic and melancholy tune. It’s dedicated to Nick Drake, James Edge’s arrangement echoing some of Robert Kirby’s arrangements for Drake’s albums Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter.
The remaining three duo tracks are lower-key affairs, allowing Garrett’s precise acoustic guitar picking to come to the fore (although at times string rattle from the bass becomes distracting). Of the three, Mr CC – dedicated to the virtuoso but under-appreciated guitarist Clive Carroll – is especially enjoyable, its faux-medieval melody reminiscent of The Sallyangie’s Midsummer Night’s Happening (which featured Ray Warleigh on flute).
In Arden is a brief insight into the work of this duo and makes the prospect of a longer release one to look forward to.
(1) In Arden; (2) You Called Me; Mr CC; Braw Day (16.11)
(1) Steve Garrett (g); Peter Lowit (b); Howard Gott (vn); Lucy Wilkins (vn); Sophie Sirota (vla); Christopher Allan (clo). Pencaitland and London, no date given.
(2) Garrett, Lowit. Pencaitland, no date given.
ALT-MOR Records ALT-MOR 3