Folk Wales Online Magazine

Mick Tems


Incredible fiery fiddler Elizabeth Davidson-Blythe and Manx guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Quayle release their impressive debut album – and what a hell of an album The Coast Road is. Boston-born Elizabeth and Daniel are based on The Isle Of Man, which has a sound reputation for proud Celtic music. In fact, Manx fiddler Tomàs Callister (Mec Lir, Ìmar), Scottish banjo extraordinaire Ciarán Ryan (Dallahan, Ciarán Ryan Band) and Manx musician David Kilgallon (Mec Lir, Neear Nesañ) assist them and play along together on five of the nine tracks – but Elizabeth and Daniel still remain the top dogs and the shining stars on this offering, that brings together exhilarating influences from the Isle of Man, Ireland, Scotland and Estonia.

At the time of writing this review, the duo were on tour in Estonia; this album was recorded by Elijah Ivanov at the Clockwork Stuudio in the Estonian town of Tartu. The Coast Road is entirely instrumental, largely original and a few traditional; Elizabeth is the main composer but doffs her cap to other writers. Right from the start, the duo firmly stake their ground; ‘The Croft’ is a breathless barnstormer, twin fiddles rising to frenzied heights and the burning guitar whipping up the pace with its jazzy syncopation. Anyway, you haven’t had much time to catch your breath when Elizabeth and Daniel are off again, this time to tripping jigs and full-on stomping reels in ‘Daybreak’; tumbling keyboards sound an introduction to the busy fiddle in ‘The Wave’, and Ciarán adds some sizzling banjo to ‘The Train’. The couple fox and dumbfound everybody with gleeful time-signature switches in ‘Cherry Mountain’, and the ubiquitous reels gets another showing. David includes shimmering strings to the beautiful air ‘For Ewen’, and there’s a brace of catchy and memorable tunes in ‘Down The North’ and ‘28 South’.

The final title track, ‘The Coast Road’, is a joyous belter with Elizabeth, Daniel and Ciarán giving it some welly; it’s an absolute finisher, and the curtain closes on a very fine repertoire. The duo can be well satisfied with this album – after all, they’re amazing musicians.