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There are those who probably consider mandolins, bouzoukis and such as relatively specialist instruments within the Scottish and Irish music scenes, interlouping newcomers from foreign parts, and such like. Those of us who try to hack out a few tunes on this family of beasties know better, but there is a vast range of instrumentation in this extended family, which has caught the interest of Kevin and Alec, along with resonator and slide guitar. Put that range of instruments in the hands of such expert players and the result should be something special.

And something special is just what we have here. With years of experience, principally in The Occasionals and De Dannan respectively, Kevin and Alec have amassed as fine a collection of the instrument-makers' arts as you could hope to get on one album and proceed to let us hear just what these very same instruments are capable of when passed from the hands of the craft makers to the hands of the craft players.

Of the fifteen tracks, twelve are of Scottish and three of Irish provenance, with a good blend of older and newer tunes, spread over waltzes, jigs, reels, marches, you name it. From the opening Nothing Can Sadden Us / Port Patrick / March Of The Cameron Men to the closing Bloody Fields Of Flanders there is pure delight, with the choices of instruments lending an overarching gentle and restrained feel which in no way detracts from the drive and vigour which is evident when required.

This is obviously the work of two musicians who enjoy each other's company and interact at one with themselves and with their music. This CD is a beacon to all those who appreciate the subtleties and nuances of these sometimes overlooked instruments.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 53 of The Living Tradition magazine.