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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sense Of The Place 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sense Of The Place 
Private Label SFC001 

Different people reacted in different ways to the challenges of lockdown. Stonehaven Folk Club decided to produce a fundraiser CD to support its local artists, and asked those artists to compose new songs to reflect the spirit and history of their coastal area as exemplified in the Aberdeenshire Coastal Communities Fund's reference archive. The fund provided financial backing and the idea took off.

The result is a resounding success, not least due to the stellar make up of the team of singer/composers. From Iona Fyfe's opening modern-day ballad, Lady Finella, through to Paul McKenna's emotional Far From Home, the final song, the 10 contributors to this recording have done themselves and their remit proud. It almost seems invidious to select tracks for individual praise as there isn't a bad song here, for if I mention Kris Drever's Catterline, how can I ignore Findlay Napier's Snowdrop, Bob Knight's Cutty Sark or Steve Byrne's Sands O' St Cyrus? Not only is the singing first rate, so is the crafting of the songs, many of which will, I'm sure, be widely sung in the years to come; Claire Hastings' Keeper Of The Light and Irene Watt's Calloused Hands, Mike Blackburn's Boat Memories and Jenny Sturgeon's Violet Rae all have great potential as singable material for singers everywhere, not just in their own locality.

This may have started out as a fundraiser/compilation, but it's ended up setting a remarkably high standard for "themed" albums. I enjoyed it immensely, and others will too.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 141 of The Living Tradition magazine