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Private Label EHCD06

Edinburgh-based Eilidh and Mark between them have many years’ experience of playing around the session scene, playing for ceilidhs, running festivals and recording studios, composing and teaching. Eilidh has recorded an EP with Eilidh Munro as The Eilidhs, and she and Mark have also previously released an EP, but this is their first full album together.

Eilidh is a clear, crisp fiddler with a fluid style and a beautiful tone. The album makes a strong start with Eilidh’s own march, Pipe Major Bobby Coghill Of Wick, which showcases her skills perfectly. Mark’s guitar accompaniment is sympathetic when it needs to be and strong and rhythmic elsewhere.

The tunes on Imprints have an undeniably Scottish feel; many of them are their own and others are written by their contemporaries. Some sound more traditional than others, and those tend to be the stronger ones – some of the more modern sounding tunes are a bit less memorable.

An album highlight is Cruachan Bheann, the air of an old Gaelic song, where the melody line is shared between the guitar and fiddle, and its majestic simplicity makes it stand out. Mark’s sensitive fingerpicking here, along with the tone he gets from his guitar, is particularly worthy of mention. In contrast though, the following set of reels feel slightly rushed.

Mark sings four songs, two well known on the traditional scene and two of his own, one with a distinctly bluesy feel. His skill for accompaniment is evident here, and Eilidh’s supporting fiddle also hits the mark. I feel that perhaps the self penned songs jar slightly with the mood of the rest of the album, but they show the versatility of the duo – they are certainly not one trick ponies.

This album is very much the real deal, with minimal multi-tracking or additional instrumentation - with the exception of Allan MacDonald’s bodhrán on three tracks, this is Eilidh and Mark as you would hear them live. Several sound and video clips are available on their website. They are well worth a listen.

Michael White

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This album was reviewed in Issue 107 of The Living Tradition magazine.