Frank Burkitt is a songwriter hailing from Edinburgh who relocated to Wellington in 2014 forming a band of talented locals Cameron “Dusty” Burnell (Mandolin) Krissy Jackson (Fiddle) Kara Filbey (Backing Vocals and Percussion) and James Geluk (Double Bass) to back his American roots and Scottish folk styled songs. Krissy Jackson can be found playing with Albi and the Wolves occasionally, but most of her time is split between Burkitt and Hot Diggity. Dusty Burnell, probably New Zealand’s best mandolin player can be heard in his duo Kim & Dusty, or as the front man for The Federal String Band or as a player in the Hardcore Troubadours among many other bands.

The Frank Burkitt Band’s ‘Fools & Kings’ starts with a bang from first track, Waste of Space showcasing the bands strong sense of arrangement and melding of musical styles. The tune hits hard with strong contrast between the two refrains. The first refrain is more subdued with long notes, a lovely vocal harmony and a bouncy country bassline while the second introduces a rockier bassline and a repeated line sure to get punters singing along.

The soothing Rainbow Rose is up next, a tribute to a fishing boat from Burkitt’s hometown in Scotland. The song hinges on a very strong bridge which really lifts the setting of the songs lyrical imagery and adds busier rhythms to the mix too. The Prettiest Dame Around is a highlight with Frank Burkitts’ softer vocal delivery and a very pretty instrumental melody whistled in unison with clarinet.

Every song on ‘Fools & Kings’ is really well put together, from the writing to arrangement to performance, recording and engineering. The band really adds something to Burkitt’s songwriting which he may have been missing on earlier albums. There is something to be said for a permanent band to write, arrange and tour with. Produced with help from Graeme Woller (Into the East) there are folk musician’s names all over this album. Even better live, the band let loose and Burkitt brings his dry sense of humour and the stories behind each song. These are well worth hearing, you’ll fall out of your chair laughing at Big Val when you know a little more than the song lets on.

You can pick up a digital or physical copy from the bands bandcamp page


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