The down to earth quality of this debut album is reflected in the black and white cover photo of a puddle in an unprepossessing piece of farm land. ‘No airs and graces here’ seems to be the message.
Copper Viper is an Anglo-American acoustic folk duo based in London, comprising songwriter and guitarist Robin Joel Sangster and fiddle/mandolin player Duncan Menzies.
Sangster has performed widely as a soloist and with ‘Americana Noir’ group ‘Affa David’. Menzies grew up playing traditional Scots fiddle music, has worked extensively as a session musician, and toured with country/rock & roll band ‘Ask Sally’ and gypsy swing/jazz quartet ‘Harp Bazaar’.
‘Cut It Down, Count The Rings’ was recorded at Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington and contains 11 brief original tunes unfussily produced and mixed by Ryan Hadlock. It draws inspiration from British folk and bluegrass. The title appears in the buoyant opening track - Bad Desires.
The upbeat melodies and pleasing vocal harmonies are built around modest arrangements paired down to the point that they mostly only need one microphone although Orvelle Johnson plays dobro on a couple of tracks (Under The Bower and Doors). The former contains the ominous image of vultures circling above a place of shelter but the recurring theme of the album as a whole is of finding light in the dark.
The overall mood is one of wholesome optimism undercut with a few melancholy reflections to remind us that life is not all sweetness and light.
Copper Viper’s website