Gary Innes

GARY INNES - How's the Craic

From the clear air of Lochaber comes this CD from virtuoso piano box player, Gary Innes, ably supported by no less than 13 other musicians! I'd reckon it's aimed at a younger 'trad' audience, but it's a recognisably Highland sound with a sense of place often lacking among younger musicians. No 'Eurofolk' here then!

The pace of Gary 's music is often frenetic, with lots of syncopation and key/tempo changes, and his skill with the piano accordion is in no doubt. He's no Jimmy Shand either. And why should he be? We're in the 21st century now, and ideas change. I'd think the 'dance music' here is meant for listening only, although the last set, 'Col.Maclean of Ardgour' is almost strict tempo enough for the Royal Scottish Dance crowd; well, maybe not quite.

Gary is aware of the merits of variety too, and there are three guest singers here. The two Gaelic songs, 'Filioro' sung by Darren MacLean, and 'Oran do Cheit' sung by Kathleen Graham are first rate, as is Jen Butterworth's contrasting treatment of the old Pee Wee King classic 'Tennessee Waltz'.

Having said that, it's Gary 's CD, and his lyrical handling of his own compositions, 'Big J.D's' and 'Laura's wee tune' (hope Laura liked it!) stand out as very tuneful and appealingly sentimental. Every track here is expertly played, 2005 style; this is innovative traditional music, or is that a contradiction in terms?- an idea for a thesis there maybe?

Anyway, it's all worth a listen, you'll like most of it and it's a rare CD that pleases everybody.

Jim Bainbridge    

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This album was reviewed in Issue 63 of The Living Tradition magazine.