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BARLUATH - At Dawn Of Day

BARLUATH - At Dawn Of Day
Private Label BARL001

A second outing for this popular young Scottish band, now expanded to a six-piece after recruiting guitarist Luc McNally, continues where the first album left off, with a nice blend of contemporary and traditional material. Ainsley Hamill has to be one of our greatest interpreters of Gaelic song, and reinforces it in spades on this album. As before, piper Colin Greeves provides a steady foundation for the compilation. It may seem a mite churlish to single out individual members when all six are more than accomplished, but Eilidh Firth on fiddle has blossomed into a key driving force, which is a joy to witness.

Some of the highlights are encapsulated by the interplay between Colin Greeves and Eddie Seaman, on two sets of pipes or one set with whistle, where they demonstrate impeccable timing and mutual understanding.

The Scarborough Settler’s Lament, which I previously was only aware of as an unaccompanied song, is majestic in this setting with a full band behind it. Air Fàir an Là (At Dawn Of Day) is a delightful musical arrangement of a waulking (or rowing) song.

Throughout, the tight production from Anna Massie brings these arrangements to life. The final track, Barluath’s take on Donovan’s Catch The Wind, on first listen seems more of a parody than homage, but I now get it – it’s just a fun exercise in re-imagining. Try not to think about the original – it works just fine as it is. If you liked the first album you’ll love this, and if you’re yet to be converted I urge you to give it a try – and seek out their live act.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 108 of The Living Tradition magazine.