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Cheery Groove CHEERY005

I nearly didn’t get to hear this CD at all – the wallet’s designed for the CD to be accessible via the outer edge, unlike virtually all other CD wallets, which require to be opened to give access to the contents. As I carried the package to the car, the CD slid out of the cover, rolled along the ground and narrowly missed going into a drain! Note to others – please avoid this design fault!

Having said that, I should stress that this is really my only criticism. I would have hated to miss hearing this recording; Gillian’s an enviably talented performer with a sure and considered touch on the fiddle and a dusky, breathy voice that has the gift of being able to transport the listener straight to a Scottish fireside – you feel as if she is singing very directly to you alone.

The variety of her repertoire means that every track comes at you from a different angle. There are tunes from her time with Back Of The Moon, from Jennifer Wrigley, Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh, Julie Fowlis and from her own pen, and she’s dipped into the Greig Duncan and Tobar an Dulchais collections (among other sources) for the songs. All the songs will be familiar, but she’s made them very much her own.

The end result is a collection demonstrating that here we have a highly competent and sensitive musician and singer who I, for one, would certainly go a long way to hear. The other musicians featured on the CD have all been well chosen and contribute significantly to the overall result. My particular favourite tracks would be The Lass O Glenshee, Silver Tassie, where she’s joined on vocals by Adam Holmes, and the final instrumental set, Pendulum/Grace’s (one of her own compositions).

There are 11 tracks in all, and my only other criticism is that I could have quite happily listened to several more. Definitely someone to catch when you have the chance, but in the meantime, buy the CD – but be more careful handling it than I was!

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 114 of The Living Tradition magazine.