closing date: 7 Jul 2012
THE BAND FROM ROCKALL
Released on Ridge Records, RR068, June 11th 2012
Rockall is a rocky outcrop in the Atlantic Ocean 300 miles west of the Scottish mainland, the most westerly part of Europe. It is, as it were, a bridge between two separate cultures. An alliance of old and new. Just so The Band From Rockall. www.thebandfromrockall.co.uk
The Band From Rockall, the new group and self-titled album, is the brainchild of songwriters Calum and Rory Macdonald.
That the Macdonald brothers are closely aligned with their culture and homeland has long been in evidence through their work with top Scottish band Runrig, well known for the passion and poetry of their music and performance. But The Band From Rockall is different.
The desire for a solo endeavour pre-dates Runrig's four decades. This is a song-writing album that draws on the influences and musical triggers that have been the soundtrack to the brothers' lives. The album takes its inspiration from the experience of growing up in the Scottish Western Isles in the 50s and 60s at a seminal time for music and pop culture.
Just as Rockall is a mid-way point in the Atlantic so the CD combines two cultures, the strong indigenous Gaelic tradition and the new sounds that came through originally from America and Liverpool. It's a sound landscape that references the era with classic retro guitars and vintage keyboards yet is contemporary, fresh and compelling.
The album features 12 tracks in total with four in Gaelic. The title track is predominantly a driving instrumental but breaks into a haunting lyric that sets the tone for the album. The song themes are personal ' a sense of family and spirituality in its various forms ' and in order to retain musical and emotional control most of the instruments were played by Calum and Rory.
There are, of course, obvious overtones of Runrig but distance is given by using a whole new set of players ' acclaimed Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and Danish/Icelandic cross-over vocalist Sine Lahm Lauritsen. Others were Andy Thorburn, piano; Euan Burton, double bass; Ryan Quigley, trumpet; Paul Towndrow, saxophone; Foina Johnston, strings; The Craigie Choir; and B. J. Cole, pedal steel guitar.
The Band From Rockall is a lyrical, moving album. It provides, like its namesake, a new horizon and a breath of fresh air.
1. The Band From Rockall
3. There's A Chain
4. One Way Ticket
5. The Days
6. Mairi Bhán
8. When I Walk Among The Hills
9. Am Bard Deireannach
10. Nighean óg Nan Suilean Ciuin
11. For The Love Of Alison
12. Into The Aurora
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