This second album from hex (Ruth Price, Terry and Linda Dix) is an absolute feast of unaccompanied, unpretentious harmony singing. The three members of the group have powerful voices, which they use with passion to convey a wide range of emotions in this well-chosen set of songs. Most of the material is traditional, with the exception of ‘My Boy Jack’ (Kipling/Bellamy), ‘Ah Cud Hew’ (Ed Picford), ‘Rolling Down the River’ (Jack Forbes) and ‘One More Pull’ (Ian Woods).
Themes range from the Napoleonic wars (‘Lisbon’) to fox hunting (‘Tally-ho Nancy’), coal mining (‘Miners Lifeguard’, ‘Ah Cud Hew’), Sacred Harp (‘Eternal Day’) and a couple of roaring sea shanties (‘Johnson Girls’ and ‘Fire Down Below’).
Their Glorious uncompromising harmonies remind me of the thrill I experienced on listening to the Watersons, Young Tradition and Swan Arcade for the first time — the hairs on the back of my neck genuinely did stand up! hex, however, have a sound that’s all their own, which is down to the combination of three committed singers with fine voices. The arrangements are thoughtfull, original and often surprising (just listen to the chorus of ‘Tally-ho Nancy’) and the selection of songs provides enough light and shade to engage the listener throughout the 45 minutes of this fine album.
Crisply recorded at Rooksmere Studios, attractively packaged with artwork by Nick Meads, and containing concise, informative sleeve-notes, this is an album full of delights — great songs, great singing, great pleasure!
From a review printed in Issue 135 March-April of shirefolk magazine.
Ruth Price, Terry and Linda Dix form this trio who sing mainly traditional songs in forthright and powerful harmony. I heard them quite recently at Duton Hill Folk Club, where they had an enthusiastic reception. If your penchant is for good chorus songs with no frills, this is the album for you. In addition to more well-known items such as Miner’s Life and Ah Cud Hew, hex have picked some unusual songs that are very suited to their interesting harmonic treatment — I was particularly drawn to Ian Woods’ One More Pull. This is the sweetest and most intense track of all, very fitting for their last track on the album. Many of the songs are gleaned from the great choral tradition of Sacred Harp, Moody and Sankey/Sheffield and shanties from the US and closer to home. All these songs suit the trio’s performance style like a glove. I can’t imagine them being done better.
… this is a CD well worth buying. You can get it online or from hex at their numerous appearances nationwide.
From a review printed in the Winter 2014/15 edition of Mardles magazine.