Jim Malcolm and Robert Burns
Jim Malcolm is one of Scotland’s most inventive writers in the realm of traditional folk. He’s the writer behind Lochinside, among other folk classics, and was named Scots Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year several years back.
On the American side of the waters, he's especially well known for his work with top Scots folk band The Old Blind Dogs. He’s been back on the solo road now for some years, and offers a very fine set from another Scottish poet, Robert Burns. It’s always a danger, on both sides of the Atlantic, that Burns may be dismissed as over familiar or over sentimental. Eddi Reader and Emily Smith, among others, have proved that contemporary folk artists are able to move beyond those obstacles, and Malcolm, with his own distinct interpretations, does too.
Opening with Rantin’ Rovin’ Robin, Malcolm sets a conversational tone which well serves Burns funny stuff such as Deil’s Away wi the Exciseman (good riddance to the tax collector, if you need a bit of brush on your Scots), the narrative and gentle humor of The Ploughman, and the fine love songs such as Ae Fond Kiss and Auld Lang Syne. Understatement serves Malcolm well, and allows him room to move into the stories and the sentiment. His wife Susie, herself a fine singer in her own right, joins for that Ploughman song and the dry humor of the The Shepherd’s Wife. Fourteen cuts in all, and each one is a keeper.
This year, Scotland is celebrating a year of song. Look for more on the singers and songs of Scotland ahead here along the music road. Thanks for traveling with us.
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Music Road: Eddi Reader sings more of the songs of Robert Burns
Music Road: Emily Smith, Jamie McClennan, and Robert Burns
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