Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Macmeanmna SKYECD60 

This is the latest release from the Skye legend that is Blair Douglas. Not only does he turn his skeely hands to accordions, piano and keyboards (and the esoteric arts of programming) but all the tunes on this CD are his own compositions. He gets able assistance here from Gordon Gunn, fiddle and mandolin; Calum Matheson, small pipes; Ian Smith, mandolin and “the reclusive, elusive legend of the Ceilidh” Ben Bachle, guitar and drums. All this gives us a sound that is instantly recognisable as Blair’s own, and one that is constantly refreshing itself and using innovative arrangements to keep the listener engaged and entertained.

The music draws on many influences, from the eponymous opening track which references the Judique Flyer, a Cape Breton steam train, through the jauntiness of Louisiana in From Braes To The Bayou, to the Northern Isles in Leaving Church Bay and all points in between. There is a sadness in some of the writing as well. Tears On Tràigh Mhòr and An Angel Weeps Tonight remind us how the Manchester Arena bomb atrocity closely affected the community of Barra, and the final track Lament For The Band Of Brothers is another composition about the First World War battle of Festubert, which impacted mightily on Skye and Kingussie.

So, a range of emotions is brought out, from the joyous to the thoughtful, all expressed in the distinctive Blair Douglas manner. Gordon Gunn’s fingers are equally dextrous at mixing and mastering, giving a splendidly lucid overall sound. Definitely one to buy!

Gordon Potter


This review appeared in Issue 133 of The Living Tradition magazine