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MARIE FIELDING - The Spectrum Project 

MARIE FIELDING - The Spectrum Project 
Rumford Records RUMCD04 

Marie is an accomplished fiddler, teacher and composer, originally from Edinburgh, who has already made a huge impact on the traditional music scene in Scotland. This, her fourth solo album, sees her approaching the music slightly differently.

The Spectrum Project sees her focus on mood and response rather than rehearsal and planning, and by doing so she attempts to capture a more honest picture of her music. So most of the material here was never played before the recording process, and the tunes are mainly new, written by Marie. The freedom of approach allows Marie and her collaborators the space to imagine these tunes just as they should be, full of life and emotion, with quality underpinning everything. And the tunes could just as well have been written 200 years ago as yesterday. They are new, yet they feel old, and incredibly familiar. It’s doubtful I’ve heard them before (although many of Marie’s tunes have been recorded by artists such as Blazin’ Fiddles and Michael McGoldrick) so Marie obviously has the knack of writing melodies that feel like old friends – a pleasure to listen to.

She plays fiddle, 5-string fiddle and Hardanger fiddle here, and the subtle differences between them add to the variation – her tone warm and clear throughout. She is joined on each track by either Tom Orr (piano/harmonium) or Luc McNally (guitar), and on one track by the fabulous Donogh Hennessy (guitar). Tom’s piano is beautiful and shimmery, in places it’s like being wrapped in a cosy blanket. Luc’s contributions are particularly impressive, his guitar being a good foil for Marie on the more upbeat tunes (the Aran Islands, Queensferry Crossing and Muriel’s Oatcakes sets being amongst my favourites – you could be forgiven for thinking that Marie is Scotland’s answer to Liz Carroll on these sets, a compliment I don’t give lightly).

This is a really lovely album, touching on several different emotions. Marie really put herself out there on this one, and it paid off – you can feel it.

Fiona Heywood


This review appeared in Issue 135 of The Living Tradition magazine