Tuesday, July 10, 2012

two from Scotland: Highland Journey and Barbara Dickson

Music rises from and frames the land throughout the Highlands of Scotland.

Musical expressions of love for the land, memories, and connections found across it hold a strong place in the traditional music of the Highlands. That’s what Jack Evans, Marc Duff, and Pete Clark explore in their recording Highland Journey: Music in the Glen. Both meditative and lively pieces find place in their choices for this instrumental album. In addition to their guitars, fiddles, whistles, highland journey musicand other instruments you may hear sounds of the waters, birdsong, and other sounds of nature from the Highlands woven into the music. Glen Lyon, The Forests Where the Deer Resort, and a set comprising The Lass of Glenshee, Lochnagar, and Cairngorm are but three of the baker’s dozen of fine tracks on Highland Journey: Music in the Glen. All in all it is a lovely album which you will want to listen to again and again as you recall or imagine or look out over the Highlands.

Barbara Dickson began her career in her native Scotland as a folk singer, touring folk clubs and among other things recording with with well known folk musician Archie barbara dickson scotlandFisher. Though she hadn’t exactly planned on it, connections made through her touring in England led to opportunities in music theater. As it happened, she excelled on the London stage, and in television acting as well. Barbara never lost her love folk music or for Scotland, however, and in recent years her recordings have tended back toward that vein. For her recording Words Unspoken she chose to work with the renown Scottish label Greentrax.

Words Unspoken opens with The Magical West, which Dickson co-wrote with the album’s producer, Troy Donockley. It is song which manages to be both intricate and straightforward at the same time. It proves a fitting beginning to an album which winds through a varied gathering of mainly tradtional songs including Jamie Raeburn, The Trees They Do Grow High, Presonent Hodie, and Ca’ the Yowes. The collection draws to its close with what may be called a modern day folk song, Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Dickson brings her own distinctive voice and thoughtful interpretation to each, and the arrangements support her well. This too is an album which well repays more than one listen, and will likely bring back and add to memories of Scotland.

Barbara Dickson sings the traditional piece Skye Boat Song

you may also wish to see
eddi reader, willie stewart, and the search for haggis
Julie Fowlis:Uam
Eddi Reader sings more of the songs of Robert Burns

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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