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GAVIN MARWICK - The Long Road And The Far Horizons

GAVIN MARWICK - The Long Road And The Far Horizons
Journeyman Collection JYM004

This double CD is a bit of an indulgence, both for the listeners and for Edinburgh fiddler Gavin Marwick who wrote all 64 tunes recorded here. Gavin has been writing tunes for over 25 years and recording them with bands such as Iron Horse, Ceilidh Minogue, Up In The Air, Cantrip and Bellevue Rendezvous. 64 tunes is a lot and I'm sure they haven't all been recorded before, but this is just the beginning of Gavin's project to record all his own tunes on the Journeyman label. I'm not sure how many more there are, but I can think of a few.

I was surprised at the nature of many of these compositions. I suppose I think of Gavin Marwick as a progressive Scottish fiddler, but many of his melodies are in fact very traditional and some of his recent ones step outside the Scottish idiom entirely because of his interests in Scandinavian and Balkan music amongst other things. Examples such as The Concert Hall, Out Of The East, Tune For Peter, Samarkand, Firedance, Balkan Red, Desert Reel and Salamander come from various exotic traditions and styles of music.

On more familiar territory, there are several outstanding tunes here which would be at home in a Scottish or Irish session. Some of them have unusual names - Left At Werewolf, The Oman Highland Games and Queen Maeve for instance. Others look mundane on paper, but I assure you they come alive on the fiddle: Jig For James, Along The Coast Of Norway and The Long Road. There are some gorgeous slow airs here too: Dusk, October and Davidson The Luthier being two among them.

Gavin is joined by many musical friends who make this a very rich and varied album. There are a few other fiddlers for duets and harmonies, accordions of both piano and button varieties, guitars and bouzoukis and something in between, flutes and whistles, pipes and pianos, the nyckelharpa of Gavin's partner Ruth Morris and more drums than you can shake a stick at. Over a dozen guests in total, they are all superb musicians, with the exception of Pete Challoner and Tim Dalling who are superb comic musicians from the legendary Old Rope String Band. There's a tune book, a live tour and a website where you can find out lots more.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 100 of The Living Tradition magazine.