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Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX412 

Brian is undoubtedly a fine example of those who have formed and shaped the image of Scots music as it stands today, as musician, singer and songsmith. This musical tour de force celebrates his 50 years in the music business and shows us a man at the top of his game in every respect.

Aside from the high standard of composition and performance displayed in nearly every track, the most remarkable feature of No Silence is the fact that, besides singing all the songs, nearly all the many instruments were played (and recorded) by Brian. This really is as near as you’ll get to a solo CD that sounds like a band.

There’s plenty of variety in the subject matter of the songs, reflecting Brian’s wide-ranging interests and beliefs, and some will be familiar to the listener – many of his compositions have been taken up by others. I especially enjoyed The Yew Tree which was, for me, reminiscent of Bryan Bowers’ version of Hugh Prestwood’s Bristlecone Pine – both are songs reflecting on the transience of mankind; a subject on all our minds as I write. There are also some beautifully turned instrumental compositions, of which I would single out the pieces for fiddle for the sensitivity with which they’re played.

This recording should not only confirm Brian’s standing within the music world, it should also enhance his reputation. And make sure you read the sleeve notes – there’s as much food for thought in them as there is in the CD.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 134 of The Living Tradition magazine