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ALISTAIR McCULLOCH "Wired Up" Fellside Recordings FECD179

Wired up - does this mean that the man's gone electric? Not at all - this is the second solo album from Alistair, who has a varied and impressive musical pedigree. A three-times winner of the Scottish National Fiddle Championship, he played with the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra as principal soloist. He was in Cantarach for a while, and also leads the well-known ceilidh band Coila.

With backing support from Aaron Jones, bouzouki and guitar; Marc Duff, whistles, recorder and bodhran; Morag Macaskill, piano; Angus Lyon, accordion and keyboards; Lyndsay McCulloch, cello; and Duncan Lyall, double bass, Alistair has another opportunity to feature as a solo artist.

Not surprisingly, given his background, the quality of his playing is first-class. He has the discipline to approach a variety of music in an equally assured manner, bringing a personal style which is relaxed without being over-casual, and precise without being over- technical.

The music is a great blend of jigs, reels, waltzes, and airs, with sources ranging from the classics, the tradition, modern composers, and, naturally, from Alistair's own pen. Alistair also co-produced the CD with Paul Adams, and an excellent job has been made of it, with a clarity of tone throughout that allows the different backing instruments to be properly heard, without compromising the lead fiddle (or viola or whistle, both of which Alistair features on one track each.

All in all, then, another fine performance from this skilful and talented player.

Gordon Potter

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