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THE OUTSIDE TRACK - Curious Things Given Wings

THE OUTSIDE TRACK - Curious Things Given Wings
Private Label  LORRCD02

Given the propensity for people of different nationalities to seriously fall out with each other, it’s often easy to claim that music is a unifying factor when band members are drawn from various countries.  In this case, it’s not just easy, it’s an understatement indeed.

The Outside Track comprise Norah Rendell, lead vocals, flute; Mairi Rankin, fiddle, step dance, vocals; Ailie Robertson, harp; Fiona Black, accordion; and Cillian O’Dalaigh, guitar, vocals, and they are assembled from Vancouver, Cape Breton, Ireland and Scotland.  So then, plenty of scope for influences on their style, but never any hint of culture clash.  What we have here is a proper fusion, one which respects all of the differing traditions which are brought into the mix.

The tune sets are lively and perfectly mastered to allow each instrument its place, with lots of interweaving and harmony, yet never feeling heavy or cluttered. This is the sort of studio playing which really makes you want to hear them live, as they convey an enjoyment of, and passion for, their music, which sounds fresh, innovative and totally engaging.

The well-chosen selection of songs give a good platform to Norah’s voice, which is light yet powerful, with great control and diction, which is more important than some younger groups realise – it does help when you don’t need the liner notes to follow the story of the song!

As well as recommending this very highly to individual listeners, I would heartily commend The Outside Track to club and festival organisers, as they surely are set to be a significant part of the future of our music.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 88 of The Living Tradition magazine.