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STEVIE LAWRENCE - A Celtic Tapestry

STEVIE LAWRENCE - A Celtic Tapestry
KRL Lochshore  CDLDS7013

This is a compilation of solo and contributory work by multi instrumentalist, session musician, composer and arranger Stevie Lawrence. The 15 instrumental pieces, with six tune sets, include recordings by The Iron Horse, Elise McLellan, Wendy Weatherby, and tracks from Scotrock – The Hills Are Alive and A Musical Celebration, and Stevie’s own Standing Alone. I think, working from the scant sleeve information, there are two new pieces.

The selection bears ample testimony to Stevie’s musical prowess across a wide range of instruments (guitar and related stringed things especially) and styles. The downside of this is that the cornucopia on offer is so wide as to weaken any overall sense of collective coherence about the content. Nevertheless, the listener can certainly expect many serendipitous treats from the array of pieces presented.

There are typically driving Iron Horse jig and reel sets featuring intricate interlocked ensemble arrangements, some piano centred pieces including the lovely Temple Locks (featuring James Ross’piano with Wendy Weatherby’s  exquisitely moving cello) juxtaposed rather jarringly to an explosive coda outburst of progressive rock with Celtic fringing, some very accomplished Celtic guitar work reminiscent of Breton players (such as Soig Siberil and Roland Conq) and Tony McManus, and then some elegant and refined orchestral soundscapes and music of obvious suitability for film soundtracking.

Instrumentally, moreover, there’s plenty to beguile and enjoy. Some great fiddle playing, stirring uilleann pipe work, breathy flute, a bourree with hurdy-gurdy, and the intriguing Mrs. Mac’s Blues where Elise McLellan’s harp playing (akin to that on Myrdhin’s Run trio project) is yoked to some mouth organ. More? Fancy some tasty saxophone, nimble accordion and harmonica sparring, a tincture of bluegrass, a hint of Riverdance…it’s all here somewhere!

This is a tapestry woven from a very wide range of musical references and experience and a musical backdrop guaranteed to offer some magic and delight.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.