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ROSS AINSLIE - Remembering

ROSS AINSLIE - Remembering
Great White Records GWR003CD

Ross is one of the finest musicians on the current Scottish scene, known for his solo work, his duo with piper Jarlath Henderson, and his input to many bands including Treacherous Orchestra, Salsa Celtica and India Alba. Primarily an instrumentalist (on pipes, whistles and cittern), here he has decided to “go outside his comfort zone” and try his hand at songwriting for a recent Celtic Connections New Voices commission. On this bunch of new songs and tunes, he has surrounded himself with several other fine musicians and singers, and the result is something quite different.

Musically, as you would expect, this is outstanding. There’s no doubting the talent being displayed here, and when Ross decides to wow us, like he does on the slow and stately Lullaby For Mel, he would be hard to beat, and there are still plenty of echoes of his old pipe teacher, the late great Gordon Duncan, to be heard. The songs (five out of the eight tracks) are written in a modern style and took a bit more getting used to. He has made a brave attempt at some honest songwriting and the overall effect is quite pleasing, though very contemporary in nature, and at times bordering on the ‘too-out-there’ for me.

Ross is a fantastic musician and this excursion out of his comfort zone has proved that he can create good music across a variety of genres. But for me, I prefer the more traditional sounding material that I know he does so well.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.