Label: Navigator Release date: 17/08/09 Website: The distinct worlds of Folk and Jazz pleasingly collide on Rachael Mcshane’s newest album No Man’s Fool. Soft piano chords mix with jazz drums, and McShane’s strong melodic voice on the ten tracks that make up the album. The singer, cello and violin player is accompanied by the talented keyboard and piano player James Peacock, bassist Jonathan Proud and drummer Adam Sinclair, with support from a number of other instruments. Mcshane is best known as a member of folk supergroup Bellowhead, but this album reveals her as a distinctive talent in her own right. The Fisherman uses a hypnotic beat, and synthesised bass, whilst Maid on the Shore features strong Fiddle playing. The Bloomfield Wager is a narrative story, with a strong middle eight, whilst album closer Shepherd Lad is a classy ballad. There is an obvious folk thread going through the whole of the album, but the jazz and new technology elements also make a strong feature, whilst not overpowering the effect. If there is only complaint, it is that a lot of the songs start of in the same way, with soft Piano chords. If a few of the songs had a different arrangement it would have made the album a better listen. Although there is no guitar on the album, the band is closest to Pentangle, who experimented in the 1960’s and fused jazz time signatures with folk music, with both bands led by pure toned singers. Rating: 8/10