The Cottars

Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX281

My, what a difference a couple of years makes? From their precocious debut album to this far more mature recording, The Cottars have come a long way in that brief time. They’re now far more settled in their role as the successors to the Rankin Family crown as all round family entertainers and between them Ciaran and Fiona MacGillvray and Jimmy and Roseanne MacKenzie prove fine musicians as well as vocalists. Their choice of material is pretty spot on including Dougie MacLean’s ‘Ready For The Storm’ and Ron Kavana’s gorgeous ‘Reconciliation’ and whilst the songs will perhaps remain the most memorable tracks, their digital dexterity is nothing to be sniffed at. The ‘The Mabou Jig/Hare Slough Jig/The Advil Jig’ performed by Jimmy show a young man (he’s only 17) who knows how to control individual note picking with a precise and clean intonation buoyed by the old school piano accompaniment from Ciaran. It will be interesting to see if, in a few years time he will be able to utilise triplets to give a splash more colour – but then again, that’s from a guitarist’s point of view. Articulate is another way of looking at the band’s overall presentation in as much that Ciaran comes across as a young John Denver in his approach to singing whilst Fiona (and I still can’t believe she was only 14 when she recorded this album) has the maturity of one born for great things. As a reference I’d say that the group very much remind me of the Irish band Déanta but in the meantime, as a work in progress, The Cottars are steadily building on a reputation that hopefully, after they’ve all passed their exams will see them touring the world stages that await them. With youth so much on their side I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the next few years.

Pete Fyfe

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This album was reviewed in Issue 63 of The Living Tradition magazine.