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GIVE WAY "Full Steam Ahead" Greentrax CDTRAX 245

There are, no doubt, many psychological treatises written about the seemingly inherent abilities of siblings to understand and relate to each other. There are, no doubt, many young groups whose very youth provides a sole hook for commentators to find common ground. Let's just take as given that this is a group of four young sisters and concentrate on the music.

With a line-up of accordions, fiddle, whistles, keyboards, synthesiser, drums and percussion, all the makings are here for a traditional "box and fiddle" based group churning out the usual stodge. Well, forget that for a start. Traditional the line-up may be, but the Johnson sisters bring a freshness of thinking to their playing which enlivens the material, driving it along without sacrificing the musicality of the numbers and giving a lift to the playing.

With a rare old mixture of traditional and modern tunes, the girls keep the musical interest maintained throughout the recording. With Phil Cunningham producing, the final quality was never going to be in doubt, and there are several nods in his direction when it comes to selecting tunes. Fiona Johnson adds three compositions of her own, including the poignant Glencoe Beginnings over which Phil reads a poem written by her gran, Jean McLean.

The album title may lead you to think that this is a riot of material played at breakneck speed just because they can, but, on the contrary, Give Way show a fine regard for the material and apply the welly as and when the music requires it.

This is seriously good playing.

Gordon Potter

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