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GIBBIE HUTCHISON Shetland Springs, fae da Bonnie Isle
Burns Records BR00100 CD

Occasionally a really authentic "traditional" musician or singer emerges from the relative obscurity of their own locality, where they may be very well known, onto the much wider national or international scene. Today this is a rare event and likely to get ever more so. When it happens such an occurrence should be welcomed by everyone with an interest in the tradition and its well being. Gibbie Hutchison is just such a musician. Now into his seventies he has released his first CD, Shetland Springs, a collection of local tunes, or Springs as they are known, from Whalsay.

Gibbie Hutchison plays authentic Shetland music in the style of the past with all the vigour, drive, energy and integrity that belies his years. The music on Shetland Springs is the real thing, not much heard today, and may take more than one playing for its value to be appreciated. I don't want to suggest that the music is a collection of museum pieces, far from it, this is genuine living traditional music at its best from one of the few remaining areas where such music might be found.

The accompaniment is provided by Gibbie's son John on guitar and double bass. On a few tracks John also joins in on fiddle. Bearing in mind that John has been exposed to his father's music all his life his participation on Shetland Springs is of course sympathetic and appropriate.

If you like fiddle music in general, Shetland fiddle music in particular or have an overall interest in real traditional music I highly recommend Shetland Springs, not only a rare and unusual gem, but also an important release. Shetland Springs is distributed by Highlander Music.

Danny Saunders

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This album was reviewed in Issue 42 of The Living Tradition magazine.