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RURA - Break It Up

RURA - Break It Up
Greentrax Recordings  CDTRAX364

After winning the Best Up And Coming Artist award at the 2011 MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, Rura have gone on to prove that they were worthy winners by producing this excellent debut CD.  Steven Blake (pipes and whistles), Jack Smedley (fiddle and vocals), David Foley (bodhran and flute), Chris Waite (guitar) and Adam Holmes (vocals and guitar) have produced something special.

The instrumental sets are a mixture of traditional tunes and some from well known tunesmiths such as Nuala Kennedy, Finlay MacDonald, Chris Stout and John McSherry.  They are well arranged and played faultlessly, with clever interplay between the pipes, fiddle and flute.  The addition of guest James Lindsay’s bass, gives a further depth, and the guitar, bodhran, bass combo is sublime. 

Sorley’s begins with a fantastic Martyn Bennett march, Sorley MacLean’s, a very stately, restrained start to a set that then lets loose into Liz Carroll’s Tune For The Lassies. Though modern tunes, they are both very traditional in style, and move nicely into the traditional Kelly’s Delight, where the addition of the pipes brings the set to its final climax. 

The title track is a very catchy song from the pen of Adam Holmes (the most recent addition to the band) with intermittent breaks of Peter Morrison’s Still Drunk In The Morning, that make full use of the anthemic impact of the big pipes.  Adam’s voice is modern and quirky, and is instantly appealing – think a trad influenced Paolo Nutini and you might be somewhere near.

All in all, this recording is a blend of well chosen tunes, and some memorable contemporary songs, adding up to a very fine album indeed - and one which gets better and better with each listen.  A belter!

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.