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RHYTHMNREEL - The Crossing

Rated at 4/5 stars (special)

 A verse printed in the cover to this disc refers to the crossing from 'Island to Mainland', but the musical crossing which powers this impressive octet is very much transatlantic in nature.  Fronted by Catriona MacAffer (on bagpipes and accordion) amd Dave Fleming (on vocals and accoustic guitar), the album is an unlikely mixture of Scottish traditional - and traditional-based - material plus contemporary Americana from the likes of Steve Earle and Neil Young.

That the resulting collection dosen't ultimately lack direction is down to consistently excellent playing and arrangements, courtesy of no fewer than three fiddlers and a versatile rhythm section who are happy to step from the shadows to rock out with electric guitarist Stuart MacDonald when the occasion demands.  Nowhere does everything coalesce more emphatically than on the brilliantly titled "See You Jimi", opening as it does with a witty conflation of 'Purple Haze' and 'Drowsy Maggie', before heading into an accordion-led tune set with a touch of 'Voodoo Chile' that, against all the odds, works perfectly.

It would be good to have a bit more of this imaginative individuality on the covers next time round - 'Bad Moon Rising' only really takes off when the bagpipes kick in - but there's plenty to smile about here.

Oz Hardwick
R2 - Rock'n'Reel Magazine


 

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