CD Reviews

In this section you will find reviews of the most recent albums by a number of the artists who are playing at this years music on the marr.

The reviews will be by our lovely MOM supporters. Stewards, Web Geeks, MC’s ETC

The views stated in these reviews do not necessarily reflect the views of the MOM organisers; we think that everybody who plays at MOM is MARRVELOUS.



Songs From The Outlands

Private Label

James and Sam Gillespie live in the Northumbrian village of Wall, at what was the border of the Roman Empire. The music on their debut album honours the wildness that preceded and survived the colonists. The brothers sing in harmony. James plays fiddle, guitar and shruti box, and Sam plays mandolin, guitar and flute.

The spirit of place is most obvious in the Northumbrian songs. The Wild Hills of Wannie, with words by James Armstrong to an old piping tune; Devilswater, with James putting a tune to a supernatural poem by Wilfred Wilson Gibson (personal note – I was born thereabouts, in what was then a maternity hospital for Newcastle mums); and Bonny at Morn, an old song of a challenged family. From over the border comes My Son David; a version of Lord Randal learnt from an Alan Lomax field recording; the well-known Twa Corbies; and MacPherson’s Lament, with song and tune taken nice and slow (you’re going to be hung at the end, so why rush?)

Ireland, France and America are visited too. Spancil Hill is a strong opener. The Stolen Child

is an early poem by WB Yeats put to music by Emily Stewart. Faeries take the child from a world more full of weeping than you can understand. L’Aloutte, a French children’s song about plucking a lark, is followed by a Breton tune. Butcher Boy, an American relative of several Border ballads, comes with a tarantella.

The brothers’ New Age-ish voices blend well, as you would expect. Their musicianship is good, though not exceptional. The arrangements are leisurely, with each of the 10 tracks being given at least 5 minutes to breathe. Above all, this young duo’s music is from the heart.

They are going places, and I wish them well.

Tony Hendry