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NICK KEIR All Over This Town Laverock LRK2

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing Nick's first solo album 'Rumours of Snow', on which he expressed his feelings about Scotland. 'All Over This Town' is a natural progression as it addresses contemporary issues and emotions, but still has a distinct Scottish setting.

For those of you who are unaware, Nick Keir has been a member of The McCalmans for at least 20 years, a performer in his own right, as well as producing material for a variety of theatre projects. He has a fantastic voice which makes you feel comfortable and warm, but, at the same time demands you listen to the words. 'Fires of Edinburgh' is an outstanding track which should be in the repertoire of a number of bands in the near future, telling how much you don't realise how much you love a place until it is under threat. Claire Mann plays some lovely fiddle on this track. And he's got the amazing Emily Smith doing backing vocals and accordion on some tracks.

'Far Down the Line', a song about emigration, will become a club favourite as it has a simple chorus, which somehow makes the message all the more powerful. 'American Accent' is a comment on how you could only get radio if you sang in a certain accent-one which was not your own. Things are better now but not completely so! The track is notable for some smashing telecaster playing by Oliver Macdonald of Lizardlikeme.

A word about the overall packaging; Good clear notes about the songs, all the words, as well as a beautiful middle booklet illustration, show a professional approach which is a good example to others.

So does this live up to expectations of 'Rumours of Snow' or is it a "second" album? I have to say that, for me, 'All Across The Town' is as good if not better. So thanks again Nick. And of course he has got the amazing Emily Smith on some tracks.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 60 of The Living Tradition magazine.