I get more pleasure from this airy set of songs than from many more established folk artists. Its understated Celtic tunefulness is a pure delight.
Label: Cheery Groove
Time: 11 tracks / 38 mins
The simple artwork is a hint of the economically-adorned music inside this package. Frame sings and plays fiddle, supported mainly by just Mike Vass and Anna Massie, who between them play guitars, banjo, mandolin, viola and vocals. Phil Hague’s percussion is an occasional visitor.
What – on first impressions – is rather a basic folk album is actually a real delight. The playing is the quality that you would expect from a ‘Young Scottish Traditional Musician of the Year,’ but the choice of tracks is what, for me, makes this such an enjoyable listen.
Lead track “Rothes Colliery” has the story, the hooky harmony vocals, and an appeal that has kept popular folk songs thriving from generation to generation.
That same appeal is what has made “The Echo Mocks the Corncrake” and “Lovely Molly” (another story song) appear in two wildly different forms on some other very noteworthy releases over the last few months.
Then there are the (mostly) traditional reels and jigs. Again, first impressions belied the beauty of these instrumentals, which make up nearly half of this collection. I originally thought that they should have been recorded in a live setting, to power them up; but I have come to enjoy their easy blend with the other studio tracks – and there is a cracking pace to “Jubilee Jig / Mom’s Jig / McKenna’s.”
“Universal Hall” reminds me of the traditional “King of the Fairies” every time it starts up – and that is a firm favourite.
The only part I am unsure about is when Adam Holmes’ baritone comes in on “Silver Tassie” - it's such a dramatic change of tone - but only until Frame comes in on harmony; and I can see why a change of tone at the centre of the disc gives it more shape.
Whenever I reach to put this disc in the player, I know that I am beginning nearly forty minutes of enjoyment – and I get more pleasure from this airy set of songs than from many more established folk artists. Its understated Celtic tunefulness is a pure delight.