Megson are Stu Hanna and Debbie Hanna, a husband and wife duo who have been making music together for ten years. This new album is a live recording of 16 songs from Hitchin Folk Club in England and is released to celebrate a decade of Megson’s music making. During this time they have released five studio albums but for those who missed them this release provides an excellent introduction and a chance to catch up with some of the best songs from all of their previous albums.
The duo’s work focuses on original compositions as well as traditional folk songs for which they draw heavily on the heritage of their native Teesside in the north of England.
They must have been on top form on the night this was recorded as there isn’t a dull moment. On most of the songs Stu plays guitar, and occasionally banjo, while Debbie adds accordion and whistle. They also share vocals and when the two voices combine it makes for irresistibly lush and warm harmonies.
Two of the highlights are the self-written songs ‘Working Town’ and ‘Smoke of Home’ which are both driven along by Stu’s powerful rhythmic guitar playing. Of the traditional songs, ‘The Old Miner’ has an exquisite vocal by Debbie and she also sings a lovely version of the children’s song ‘Jenny Jenkins’. Best of all though is another original, ‘The Longshot’, a bittersweet tale of hope in the face of adversity which is surely the best song ever written about football.
English folk and roots music appears to be thriving with many talented young singers and musicians but Megson have created a special niche and their unique and infectious style has rightly received positive critical attention along with a number of awards and nominations.