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COLUM SANDS - Turn The Corner

COLUM SANDS - Turn The Corner
Spring Records SCD1062

A new CD from Colum Sands is always welcome and this one certainly does not disappoint. All his own work, with able backing from family and musical friends, Colum's easy style belies some extremely sharp wit, much of it gently aimed at modern problems, but never falling into the easy trap of anger and bitterness.

A year out from touring in 2012 gave Colum some time for the serious business of thinking and the songs in Turn The Corner are all products of this 'thinking time' and relevant to life in the 21st century, without the introspection so common among singer/songwriters.

We all have a location and the feeling of relief we experience when we are ‘turning the corner' to home, and his metaphor of the Two Angry Dogs as a parallel to the Belfast flags protest, without provoking any rancour, is a remarkable feat.

Piper In The North Country is built around tune titles, not an original idea maybe, but a heartfelt celebration of young people playing the old music - accompanist Claire Byrne's uilleann pipes being just one in question. The onerous security precautions we all face at airports are the theme of Walls And Windows, but Colum bounces it all back to us – “Do we block the light or let it through?” Full lyrics are provided in an attractive leaflet with Colum's own thoughts about each song.

The CD opens with a eulogy to lovely Lazy Hill in County Down, which sounds like a good place to start a year of thinking, and closes with The Longest Night And The Shortest Day - are they really so far apart? More questions than answers on this album maybe, but this, his ninth CD, is a high quality effort from one of Ireland's finest songwriters - maybe it's time for more of us to take time out for thinking? It certainly worked for Colum!

Jim Bainbridge

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This album was reviewed in Issue 102 of The Living Tradition magazine.