Mabon | OK Pewter

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World: Celtic Folk: Power-folk Moods: Instrumental
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OK Pewter

by Mabon

A Celtic festival disguised as a band.
Genre: World: Celtic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Schindig
4:58 $0.99
2. The Hustler
3:49 $0.99
3. Set of No Names
9:02 $0.99
4. La Randonnée
4:36 $0.99
5. Rough Crossing on the Munter Express
5:44 $0.99
6. File Under Biddley
8:09 $0.99
7. A Hungarian in Brittany
10:16 $0.99
8. Gower Flotsam in Bordeaux
7:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
A biog of the band can be found after the album reviews.

OK Pewter album review by

The rather irreverently titled, OK Pewter, marks the latest release from the vibrant Welsh folk group, Mabon. Right from the outset, this is an album brimming with contagious energy, and positively overflowing with utter joy! All eight tracks are penned by the conspicuously talented accordion player, Jamie Smith, offering a triumphant fusion of Celtic and European influences. Jamie's talent for composition is more than matched by his fluid accordion playing, and his presence alongside an array of proficient and flamboyant musicians ensures that the phenomenal sound of Mabon is of considerable appeal. Oli Wilson-Dickson on fiddle and the Scottish flute phenomenon, Calum Stewart, lend Mabon solid Celtic credentials, whilst the bodhrán, drums and bass of Will Lang, Iolo Whelan and Jason Rogers provide a rhythmic powerhouse that really adds some muscle to their sound. The European influence is sustained through the rhythmic bouzouki of Adam Rhodes.
The album opens to the funky bass riff of "Schindig," and it becomes immediately obvious why this band should be much in demand on the festival circuit. The sound of Mabon makes you want to throw away all your inhibitions, take to the floor, and dance your socks off to their astonishing collision of contemporary and traditional melodies. The inclusion of Jamie Smith's father, Derek Smith, on guitar ensures that Mabon is something of a family affair, lending solid foundations -- in particular the funky interplay between bass and guitar on "Set Of No Names."
For me the highlight of OK Pewter is the ten-minute, genre-hopping epic, "A Hungarian in Brittany" -- a breathtaking set of tunes that transports you on a frenzied odyssey with its exotic rhythms and catchy European-influenced melodies. If the first seven sets of tunes on OK Pewter provide the perfect tonic to get feet tapping and bodies moving, then album closer, "Gower Flotsam in Bordeaux," is the perfect last dance -- from the lonesome opening fiddle through to the lamenting flute and brooding bass, this is just the tune to send a rowdy festival crowd reluctantly homeward.
Mabon make fantastic music, and the fact that OK Pewter boasts a treasure chest of remarkable, original compositions makes it essential listening. Jamie Smith's star shines bright throughout and judging by this evidence he's likely to have a bright and distinguished music career ahead of him.

OK Pewter album review by fRoots magazine:

With a cheeky title that maybe is some kind of rootsy answer to Radiohead’s OK Computer, Mabon have sneaked up to the mark when we weren’t looking, rather than making a huge fuss and palaver. Their debut was quietly assured, more of taster than a statement, however with Pewter they’ve certainly laid their cards on the table. And whilst this may not be quite a full house, it’s got more than its share of trumps and aces.
Whilst they’ve retained a toe-hold in Welsh identity, ideologically they’re pushing the envelope under the stewardship of accordeon master Jamie Smith. Smith is a smart mover, not only has he funked up the rhythm section, but welding obvious Celtic inspiration to loftier European traditions – hence such wit as A Hungarian in Brittany, Gower Flotsam in Bordeaux – they neatly sidestep fellow fusion troopers. Add in a deft lightness of touch which stops proceedings becoming too serious and OK Pewter comes off as a huge grin of an album. Not an ounce of sampling or tricks of the trade, all good honest graft. Hold it in your hands soon.

OK Pewter album review by Irish Music Magazine:

Mabon play a blend of lively modern Celtic music and although a Welsh band their repertoire is characteristcally idiosyncratic as all the tunes were composed and arranged by accordion player Jamie Smith, who has mastered an essentially Celtic rock dance form at the young age of twenty-three.
The line up gives us a clue as to the new direction Mabon are taking. The band includes original members Jamie Smith on piano accordion, his father Derek Smith on guitars and Iolo Whelan on Drums. New faces on this album are Will Lang on bodhrán (a past All-Britain Champion and All-Ireland Finalist), Calum Stewart on Flute (runner-up Scottish Traditional Instrumentalist Final at Celtic Connections 2007), Oli Wilson-Dickson on Fiddle (ex-Szapora), Adam Rhodes on Bouzouki & Fiddle (he's from the Isle of Man ), Jason Rogers on Bass (he has since been replaced in the live touring band by Matt Downer).
Mabon's music is ideal for social Fest Noz dancing and with their close links to Brittany there's a familiar Breton An Dro sound to some of their pieces: they have become unofficial regulars at the Lorient festival, and one track "La Randonnée" is named after their favourite restaurant in Ploemeur.
However with the band now featuring Irish and Scots influenced players there's been a subtle shift in the composing. For instance there are hints of Lúnasa and Capercailie on "The Hustler" where flute and accordion trade licks as the bodhrán tips steadily under it all.
Three sets of tunes take up almost a half hour of the album, they allow for bigger ideas to be worked out, so we get a rolling rainbow of accordion colours on "A Set of No Names" which has an interesting accordion and bouzouki mid section full of the sunshine of Auray. In contrast the equally expansive "File Under Biddley" has more of a Scottish flavour with the fiddle setting the early tone. If I had a favourite track, for sheer vivacity and tongue in cheek fun it would have to be the full ten minutes of "A Hungarian in Brittany", Hanter dro meets gypsy fiddling, it's all so mesmeric and catchy.
Mabon are a band going places, no wonder they have recently signed a distribution deal with Proper records. The only big question is when will we see them in Ireland; they'd be ideal for a late night Nosen Lowen for the Bray Festival next August. Remember folks you saw the suggestion here first!
Seán Laffey

OK Pewter album review by Rock'n'Reel Magazine:

Mabon - OK Pewter: 5/5 stars.
Winning plaudits for their wittily titled debut, Welsh contemporary upbeat folk band Mabon are an eight-piece producing the kind of crisply executed, often exhilarating and entirely memorable music that is giving folk music a good name.

Led from the front by composer and musician (accordion and mandolin) Jamie Smith, another of those scarily talented younger folk musicians, OK Pewter sees the band integrating and accommodating English, Irish, Welsh, Breton and Eastern European influences, which culminate beautifully on the uplifting ‘La Randonnee’. What makes Mabon particularly exciting is their willingness to move beyond the comfort zone; when they’re rocking they avoid the folk-rock template and when they’re adding continental elements they still forge their own identity and sound.

Add to the musical equation a fabulously funky bassist, an excellent drummer, an expressive and exceptional fiddler in Oli Wilson-Dickson and supplement it with the impressive guitar work of Derek Smith, the fine flute playing of Calum Stewart, nifty bodhran playing of Will Lang, and sterling bouzouki work of Adam Rhodes and the result … arguably the most rounded and consistently satisfying collection of folk music to emerge from Wales in some time.
Sean McGhee

OK Pewter album review by Taplas magazine:

This young Welsh band are frighteningly good. They have sewn up a 20s-to-30s fanbase in their home town of Bridgend, they opened the doors to the prestigious and huge Lorient Festival to Welsh musicians and have headlined gigs in Italy, Brittany and over the world. Celtic Music rocks, and how!

Mabon first made their mark with a self-produced debut CD, Lumps of Mabon, which laid the foundations and the musical ambitions of brothers Gareth and Iolo Whelan and father and son Derek and Jamie Smith. OK Pewter is stupendously great. The line-up has been expanded, Gareth (a fine fiddler) has gone and his place has been taken by versatile Oli Wilson-Dickson, a master musician who can make his violin sit up and beg. He and Jamie fit each other like the proverbial glove.

But it’s Jamie who gets the plaudits. He composed the eight tracks on the CD and his breathtaking accordion leads the band, with Oli’s collaboration, through dreamlike vistas both Irish, Breton and Hungarian-influenced. Mabon strike brilliant sparks when they play fast, but suddenly they slow the pace down, both Oli and Jamie effortlessly achieving such beautiful harmonies to make you weep with joy. A fabulous, cracking CD.

OK Pewter album review by Buzz Magazine, May 2007:

Welsh folk outfit Mabon’s second effort is a remarkable piece of craftsmanship, especially so as every song has been penned by 23-year-old Jamie Smith. This young man’s musical insight and maturity is quite astonishing, considering his lack of years. Traditional folk is given a contemporary edge with the occasional wry outlook, pastoral harmonies and playful melodies. The Gaelic flavour of A Hungarian in Brittany is quite charming also. This will have you intoxicated and enthralled. 4/5 stars

Mabon is the Celtic music of accordionist Jamie Smith brought to life through the energetic performances and breathtaking playing of some of the best musicians in the folk scene today.

Mabon took the folk scene by storm in 2007 with a series of memorable gigs including Llangollen International Eisteddfod and Cambridge Folk Festival. Coupled with the success of their critically-acclaimed album, OK Pewter – ‘A huge grin of an album…hold it in your hands soon.’ (fRoots Magazine) – the band is now regarded as Wales’ premier Celtic export.

Led by Jamie – ‘scarily talented’ (Rock‘n’Reel Magazine), ‘accordion master’ (fRoots) – Mabon’s seven-piece line-up marries stunning accordion, fiddle and flute melodies with a tight, tasteful and downright groovy rhythm section of guitar, bodhran, bass and drums. The result is a unique and invigorating take on Celtic music, with the capacity to simultaneously glue you to your seat and drag you up onto the dance floor!

Mabon's musical roots lie deeply in the traditional music of its Celtic heritage, which provides the inspiration and the foundation for the band’s original brand of new interceltic music. Whereas many contemporary folk groups endeavour to push forward the boundaries, Mabon simply ignore them, creating music purely for music's sake and in a manner that not only pleases themselves, but all who watch them play.



to write a review

Charles N. and RadioIndy

Excellent celtic CD. Pick up a copy today!
The Cd entitled "O.K. Pewter" by Mabon is of a Celtic nature flavored with strong modern musical influences. It's made up of European Classical and traditional sounds brought to the audience in a tasteful and creative way. These highly musical artistic expressions from the mother land are skillfully done with passion and a spirit of improvisation. In their thoughtful endeavor to create melodies which retain its traditional cultural identities, Mabon came up with a unique musical identity; An undeniable and commendable demonstration of musical creativity. The blend of instruments achieve a remarkable level of harmony. And the quality of recording is quite impressive. They all lend credence to the artists' musicianship. The title"Schindig" has a sensational start with a pop influence and noticeable Irish and Welsh musical characters. The accordion work on this track is spectacular and the mandoline powerful enough to create a culturally festive mood. The Irish identity in the track "File under Biddley," is rightly preserved by the impressive accordion work. The blues and folk influences and the styles with which they are coined and blended in "Set of no names" and in " A Hungarian in Brittany" are quite impressive works of art. If you enjoy real Celtic melodies with contemporary musical influences, you will enjoy this CD. Pick up a copy today.
-Charles N. and RadioIndy