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BLAIR DOUGLAS - Leanaidh Mi  I Will Follow

BLAIR DOUGLAS - Leanaidh Mi I Will Follow
Macmeanmna SKYECD54

There are those who accuse me of being a technophobe, but I’m not afraid of digital stuff, I just don’t understand how it works! Fortunately the same thing could never be said of the Skye Supersqueezeboxman Blair Douglas and his engineers, who manage to unite musicians on either side of the Atlantic to produce this sublime fusion of Portree and Nashville.

Joining Blair from Scotland are the vocals of Cathie Ann MacPhee, Kathleen MacInnes, Iain Smith and Kathleen Graham, fiddler Gordon Gunn, piper Angus MacKenzie and guitarist Phil Anderson, whilst the down-home feel is given by Mark Burchfield, basses; Charlie McCoy, harmonica; Brent Mason, electric guitar, Bob Mater, drums; Bryan Sutton, acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo; and Wanda Vick, fiddle, banjo, dobro, mandolin.

Put all this together and you get a sparkling collection of six original Gaelic songs, which range from topics as diverse as betrothals, mayhem-causing pipers and the eternal poignancy of love and sorrow. To complement this, there are seven instrumental numbers, which allow the different traditions to interplay, tease each other a bit, and combine into a wonderful fusion which results in a sound which is innovative, dynamic and, above all, thoroughly enjoyable.

There’s a smoothness and deftness of touch throughout all the tracks, and it’s quite hard to believe that the musicians weren’t all in the studio at the same time, such is the tightness of the playing. Any of the tracks could stand out as an exemplar of how to create Celtic Bluegrass, and there’s a fine re-arrangement of the iconic Kate Martin’s Waltz which now has a decidedly country feel to it.

This one’s a must-listen!

Gordon Potter

 

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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.