Album Review / RANT: The Portage

"A stark, honest recording." That's how the core quality of RANT’s third outing is described on RANT's Bandcamp site. It may be a slightly surprising choice of words for music that's very controlled, touching on modern classical in some places, played by a quartet of Scotland's finest (Bethany Reid, Anna Massie, Jenna Reid and Lauren … Continue reading Album Review / RANT: The Portage

Artist Intro: Emily Smith

(photo: Emily Smith (SCO) is a popular folk singer and musician whose acclaimed career thus far forms an arc from the earlier albums featuring trad/folk songs and songs by Robert Burns, often sung in Scots, to her current, very Americana-influenced style. She has a degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was BBC … Continue reading Artist Intro: Emily Smith

Artist Intro: Anxo Lorenzo

Anxo live at Celtic Connections 2019, photo by the writer Anxo Lorenzo (SPA) is a virtuoso piper and flutist from Galicia in northwestern Spain. His music is a dazzling combination of his home region's ancient Celtic roots, the music of the northern Celtic folk music tradition and various modern and trad influences from around the … Continue reading Artist Intro: Anxo Lorenzo

Retro Review / Brian Finnegan: The Ravishing Genius of Bones (2010)

I remember the three distinct occasions that made me fall in love with Irish and Scottish music, especially the music of our time that flows from those countries. First was Solas, then my discovery of Capercaillie, and then this, flute and white player and composer Brian Finnegan's first and so far only solo album. All … Continue reading Retro Review / Brian Finnegan: The Ravishing Genius of Bones (2010)

Quick Take Retro Review / Alba’s Edge: Run To Fly (2015)

Sometimes music is just fun, and it's enough. You don't always need to have a bright new idea or a unique take on something to produce music that's just plain... good. Alba's Edge was (I presume they're not active anymore) a North American Celtic/Jazz hybrid whose sole full album, Run To Fly, is one of … Continue reading Quick Take Retro Review / Alba’s Edge: Run To Fly (2015)

Quick Take Album Review / Jim Moray: The Outlander

The brilliant Jim Moray has injected fresh blood and ideas into English folk for over a decade now, but his new album The Outlander is a deliberate excursion to a batch of Ye Olde Songs - even the ancient John Barleycorn makes an appearance - with acoustic arrangements that are mostly fairly old school but … Continue reading Quick Take Album Review / Jim Moray: The Outlander

Retro Review / Dosca: Meridian (2018)

Meridian, Dosca’s first and so far only album (and last? I have no idea if the band is active anymore) was released in early 2018, following a solid EP and live performances that had quickly made a name for the six-piece band. I had heard the EP once and had been impressed but didn't own … Continue reading Retro Review / Dosca: Meridian (2018)