These last few years it's been heartening to observe the array of young musicians in Sussex applying their talents to acoustic music from around the world. Drop into any number of music venues these days and you're likely to hear Balkan gypsy tunes, Appalachian ballads or a set of Kerry slides silencing the jukebox.

Laura Ward is a case in point. Her powerful vocals would would win her many a karaoke competition but she has chosen to explore the world of roots music, to increasing acclaim. Her take on traditional Irish and American songs is highly original, as are her interpretations of contemporary material.

Although her voice could silence a room on her own her talents are fully realised by a superb bunch of backing musicians. Adding harmonies as well as superb playing are Mervyn Wallis on fiddle, multi- instrumentalist Matt Szul and Kansas born Scott Smith, whose lap steel virtuosity is already the stuff of local legend. With the occasional addition of a string bass and cajun melodeon, this is an outfit not to be missed.

No comments: