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Nick Keir - “Rumours of Snow” Laverock Records LRK1

An unfamiliar name to me, but a familiar voice, Nick Keir has been a member of The McCalmans since 1986 and part of the folk scene for more years than he probably wants to remember.  As with any highly successful, long established band, there is a tendency to take the Mac's for granted, their sound is definitely "theirs", and although it has changed it is the older material that tends to stick in my mind. So when this dropped through my door I was not entirely hopeful-- but how wrong I was.  This is a really good listen-- if you know what I mean.

"Rumours of Snow" consists of 12 original songs by Nick with Edinburgh as the backdrop, with lyrics which echo its sense of history and place. Standout track for me is the amazingly titled "Mephistopheles in Minto Street".  The inspiration for this is the tramps and other characters who frequent the evening streets and live in their own fantastic worlds. An excellent track with some amazing lyrics. I don't feel that all songs are of an equally high standard, --- you can disagree if you want but buy the album to do so.  "Field behind Our House"-- based on Kip Winter's mother's story (Kip is currently in the excellent Winter Wilson) --- and "Spring on the Southside" come close.  The latter track is about Nick's favourite area, the Meadows, where King Arthur is rumoured to be sleeping ready to come back when needed --- maybe given some of the things currently happening it is about now .…

Mention must be made of the excellent backing to the songs provided by Nick and the likes of John Martin and Derek Moffat, and an informative and well produced booklet with an evocative photo of the Edinburgh skyline.

I've only been to Edinburgh on a handful of occasions so maybe I'm not the best to spot all the references made in the lyrics, but I am able to say that this is well worth a listen or two.  You' be able to choose your favourites How easy it is to find I'm not sure, Nick is not touring but the McCalmans are and I'm sure this will be available.

Well done Nick... and maybe it's time to checkout the McCalmans..........

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 47 of The Living Tradition magazine.