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SESSION A9 - One For The Road

SESSION A9 - One For The Road
Raj Records 004

You may think that Session A9 is just another fiddle band - there are more fiddlers in it than in a tax inspectors in tray or to do list - but this group are very much more than the sum of their parts.  The main orchestrator, Charlie McKerron, leads Adam Sutherland, Kevin Henderson and Gordon Gunn (violins) with Marc Clemont (vocals/guitar), Brian McAlpine (keyboards) and David "Chimp" Robertson (percussion).
This is a full blown live recording from Eden Court in Inverness (Feb 2010) and the boys in all their glory are giving it "lalldy", from The Real Mackay Wedding set through to the Sporting Paddy / Road To Errogie finish.  This is an album of masterly accomplishment that has been mixed and engineered by Marc Clemont to the 9th degree.
Whilst listening to it two or three times, you get the feel of the bands enthusiastic approach to all the tracks. I can spout with a passion how good this is because every musician is at the top of their game, how do I know you may ask?  Well I've sat in sessions with them, had a pint with them, discussed their music, and it is infectious and heart-warming to be in their company.

On some live albums I have heard a lot of background noise, which can distract from the music (notwithstanding the normal audience participation) - not so here.  The road rolls on with tunes like Fred Morrison’s The Aird Ranters and Charlie’s own Inchriach; they are a class apart along with Adam Sutherland’s Garry Porch Of Avernish.   Then when you think it is safe to overtake you get rear ended by Swallows / Kary Hill / Garry Banjo, going at eighty mph on the A9. At this point I pulled into a lay-by and caught my breath with the lovely slow air Charlie wrote Alisdair’s Tune, a tribute to a close friend in Glasgow who died, and its poignancy lifts you to another level. There it is again - music in its purest form tugging at the heartstrings as it should.
So here I am at home playing it again without the traffic noise. I switched off the phone, pressed the kilt, ate a whole bar of chocolate with a glass of red wine and mused with sheer enjoyment at an album and a half of SESSION A9 at full throttle!! Whew! I'm surprised they never got done for speeding.

Duncan Stewart

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