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Private Label CAN001CD 

Many are the combinations of instruments to be found within the tradition, so there should be few surprises left. Be that as it may, I can’t think offhand of places where I’ve heard this exact mixture. Putting together the piano of Michael Biggins, the bodhrán of Callum Convoy, and the diatonic button accordion of Sam Mabbett gives us The Canny Band, on this its debut album.

Last year, they were the Up And Coming Artists Of The Year at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards, and Michael was that year’s BBC Young Traditional Musician Of The Year. This CD shows that they’re worthy winners indeed. All three exhibit a real deftness and lightness of touch, which results in an overall sound that is clean and clear, and Scott Turnbull has mixed everything perfectly to allow all the instruments to be appreciated. There’s a good variety in pace, with lively jigs and reels sitting comfortably alongside slower airs and waltzes, including the original Musette À Govan. There is an original song, too, The Canopy, commissioned from Jack Badcock, but unfortunately no vocal credits are given. There are some classical and some jazz influences which give an extra tweak to some of the arrangements, but the overall feel is very traditional.

For piano connoisseurs, you might like to know that the instrument used on this recording was the Steinway Model B grand from Paxton House in the Scottish Borders, where it and the bodhrán were recorded.

A canny CD from The Canny Band!

Gordon Potter


This review appeared in Issue 145 of The Living Tradition magazine