Album Review / Gary Innes: Imminent

Gary Innes’ third album continues his excellent work as a solo artist. As a the accordion guy in Mànran, his role is irreplaceable and on his own, he is simply fab.

Imminent is, in my ears, a worthy successor and equal to ERA, his 2017 outing. The concept of the previous album is pretty much duplicated here: Gary writes and plays the music he enjoys, radiates positive energy and cheerfully kicks those style boundaries down. In my ever so precise labeling, it belongs to the “Music based on and rooted in a specific folk tradition but modified and embellished with strong personal vision” category which, as a label, is crap and inelegant but describes quite well what Mr. Innes has come up with: mostly instrumental modern music built on a very old and durable founding.

Not only do I enjoy the brilliant playing by everyone but even more than that, the great melodies he comes up with on almost every track. The opener. The Doctor’s Order, for example, would be a nice and cozy track even with a lesser melody but he spices and colors it with clever and delightful hooks, both in the melody and in the chords department and the result is just that much better and engaging for it. There’s a natural richness in music like this; it makes me feel feel like walking in a forest on a bright summer’s day, with all the sounds and colors and scents around me…

My favorite moments on the album, besides the opener, are the quite funky The Alpha Runrig, the totally hilarious and virtuoso The Valley Superstar (whose minor key waltz melody has a strangely Finnish feel in my Finnish ears), the relaxed summer breeze swing of Trade Winds and the extended, slightly jazzy finale Persistence Pays Off (indeed!).

The elegiac Swan Song is the centerpiece of the album. It comes with a heavy subject matter and Karen Matheson’s deeply heartfelt interpretation of the lyrics. I have no knowledge what the story behind might be but it feels very personal and creates a very different, shadowy moment in the album’s flow; everything else kind of flows around it. It’s a unique song that stops you and really makes you listen – and then life flows on again in the very next tune, as it indeed should, and will…

So, it’s a home run #3 from Gary Innes and one that will find its way to my headphones and speakers over and over again. I’m looking forward to seeing Gary playing with Mànran this summer and I hope to see a solo gig too some happy day 🙂

Imminent is available as a very affordable CD and download on Gary Innes’ web site, on Amazon and it’s also streaming on those services and apps where music… you know, streams.

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