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Adelaide-based multi-instrumentalist, Ray Smith, has released his new CD, Trout and Toolbox, just in time for Christmas. Not only does he play a range of instruments, but he also embraces a number of genres, on this album displaying his love of folk music. All of the music was written by Smith except for the track Now, by Nic Jones. Trout is a brief acoustic guitar solo introduction, and Toolbox is the last number on this generous fourteen track CD.

Billy features Kerryn Schofield on wooden flute and Emma Woolcock on violin, with Smith on guitar and vocals, telling the tale of a boy who went to war, and Sense of Place is Smith on guitar and vocals again, and Schofield, this time on button accordion. On Migration, Smith adds concertina and Schofield returns to the flute in a poignant look at the lives of migrants.

The instrumental number, Village, changes the personnel, with Smith on guitar, Eliza Barnes, also on acoustic guitar, and Tamas Smith on semi-acoustic bass. This is a lively and intricate tune that shows off the skills of all three of these excellent musicians. The Weaver tells the life of a weaver, from child labour onwards, and ends with Schofield on cornet playing the familiar refrain, Going Home.

Not wanting to spoil it for those who will buy this CD, suffice to say that there are other equally fine songs, each with a strong story line and great arrangements, played by the aforementioned members of the Adelaide folk music scene in varying combinations, giving differing timbres to each number.

Recorded at Mixmaster Studios and produced by Smith and Mick Wordley, it is crisp and clean, with every note and nuance clearly audible. I have already played this excellent album a number of times and, I can guarantee, it will be played again many times in the future.

With Christmas just around the corner, this would make an ideal gift for anybody who loves good music and songs with meaning. You can listen to snippets of the songs and purchase the album for download or as a CD here.

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