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Metagama Productions METACD001

Though classically trained in piano, Inverness-based Liza has traditional music in her DNA, with Glasgow-Irish and Isle of Lewis family backgrounds looming large. This, her excellent debut solo album, finds her on top form in a set of fluent offerings, from the opening drama of Took My Breath Away to haunting closer The Funk Trunk; this is assured, convincing stuff indeed.

Her prime instruments being keyboards and accordion, Mulholland has featured in the past with bands as varied as the Deaf Heights Cajun Aces, CirMhor, and the still-current neo-folkers Dorec-a-belle, but here she proves she’s more than just a team member, sauntering with verve through a range of material, almost entirely self-penned and spanning arresting songs and captivating instrumentals.

That early musical grounding in the Tradition (cousins and other family members contribute here incidentally) has fuelled a naturalness which is reflected through first-person narratives like the scarred-but-not-beaten On The Road and such tunes as the sparkling Kiloran Jig Set to effectively balance the darkness with the playful.

Oh yes, that opening track - a jaunty melody disguising a tragic relationship breakdown and helping to heighten the impact, Liza’s tale of domestic abuse leading to a life taken (“a flash of steel was all it took”) is harrowing. Fittingly, all proceeds from the track’s downloads and sales go to Women’s Aid.

Recorded close to home, deft arrangements with a loose rootsy sound are the characteristic features, as fine and rosy as the title cut. The future’s looking much the same for Ms Mulholland!

Clive Pownceby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 117 of The Living Tradition magazine.