This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 6/03
This instrumental album is a candidate for the Guinness Book of Records. I doubt whether, since the advent of multi-tracking, there has ever been a CD on which a solo artist has played such a dazzling variety of instruments. And played them so well.
Just pin back your ears and listen to this list: tenor banjo, acoustic guitar, guitar/bouzouki, mandola, mandolin, percussion, baritone guitar, dobro, fretless bass, hurdy gurdy, Scottish smallpipes, mandocello, low whistle, cittern, nylon strung guitar, Appalachian dulcimer, bouzouki, tenor guitar, and finally, concertina. Gosh! Eat your heart out Stevie Wonder! What do you make of THAT for a list!
One wonders if he plays bass concertina and BOTH anglo and English concertinas. If so, he missed the chance to a couple more to the list.
There WAS one other instrument mentioned, but it was one I had never heard of and I thus assumed it a misprint. He says in his liner notes that he played the "tiple" on track 7. Come to think of it there was another listed on track 8: a requinto, something I kinda feel I've HEARD of, but haven't a clue what it is.
Anyway: is this just a "vanity trip"? Is it a bit like those people who claim to be polyglots and speak 20 languages, but in reality cannot say anything of merit in ANY of them? No, not remotely. It is a varied and aesthetically pleasing hour's listening. And although his background as a performer clearly lies in stringed instruments, he is no slouch when it comes to the others.
Several of the tunes are self-penned (hardly surprising: if he eschews session men, one doesn't expect him to call upon songwriters!), but call on them he does, and to great effect.
Somehow one expected him to successfully mine the back catalogue of such luminaries as Donal Lunny/Declan Sinnott, Alistair Anderson, the late Billy Pigg etc, but the real bonus comes from his surprising visit to the work of another Anderson, Jon. (He of the famous British progressive rock band "Yes")
If you regard the human voice as an instrument (as I certainly do) and feel it ESSENTIAL on any album, then this is not for you. But if you want varied instrumental sound, well produced, and very authoritatively performed: well, look no further.
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