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CHARLIE GREY & JOSEPH PEACH - Waves Rise From Quiet Water 

CHARLIE GREY & JOSEPH PEACH - Waves Rise From Quiet Water 
Braw Sailin’ Records CD002BSR

A short debut album at just on half an hour - I've seen shorter though - this album presents young Scottish duo Grey on fiddle and Peach on pianism (apparently) with touches of other instruments from this pair and supporting vocals from Kim Carnie. There's only one song as such on this CD, although be warned that live gigs feature singer Mabel Duncan so I imagine there is less instrumental music on offer. Here, there are seven effectively instrumental tracks, mainly composed by Peach and Grey, each one carefully constructed and beautifully played. They range from the minimalist solo piano of Dornie to the lush Last Mile by Mark Stewart with Gaelic vocals over a frankly funky fiddle tune somewhere between Charlie McKerron and Ashley MacIsaac.

Peach and Grey have written five of the eight tracks here. Their style is light, melodic, contemporary but with identifiable Scottish origins. Maureen Fraser's is like a slow 6/8 pipe march, powerful and elegant. Ristol reminds me of the theme music to Local Hero - in a good way, the sweeping beauty of the west highlands, the strong emotional connection. The title track ends this recording in a similar vein, bold strokes on fiddle and piano, with the soft subtle power of Atlantic waves rather than the fiery attack of the east coast fiddle tradition. The remaining two tracks are a traditional Irish tune and a song, Sleepless Sailor by Kate Rusby, sung by Grey and performed nicely enough but seeming quite out of place here. I understand the pressure to put songs into the repertoire, but Grey & Peach really don't need that, and for me it detracts from what is a striking new thread in Scottish music. 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 117 of The Living Tradition magazine.