Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer - Scatter Pipes
Wild Goose Records WGS324CD

The music of Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer has an air of quiet confidence about it despite its lack of show and adornment. Vicki is a highly-accomplished player of the Scottish smallpipes and also contributes flute, double bass and vocals to the album, while Jonny impresses on guitar as well as accordion and vocals. Although their music is traditionally-based, there is only one set of completely traditional tunes on the album – the opening track – while Jonny contributes the bulk of the rest of the material. These contemporary sounding compositions always give the music a cutting edge with various surprises along the way.

The song ‘The Hare’s Lament’ is impressively sung by both and perhaps more space could have been given on the album for song to balance the instrumental numbers. The flute and guitar combination on this track is very appealing. ‘The Broken Drone’ set is characteristic in the way it showcases Vicki’s fine pipe playing and Jonny’s distinctive modern guitar playing particularly in the faster paced third tune.

One of the highlights is another song, ‘The Trooper and the Maid’, with its superb extended instrumental conclusion in which Vicki’s pipes continue on from the song apparently seamlessly. The most distinguished tune is Dyer’s ‘The Blue Man’ which suggests that Vicki’s flute should be heard more on the album. The pipes and guitar are excellent throughout as is the more tantalising taste of vocals and flute – more of the latter in the future please!

Andy Jurgis

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This album was reviewed in Issue 64 of The Living Tradition magazine.