Wind On The Moor
Thistle & RosesSBM 96-01 CD
Southern Branch Music
A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
On the one hand, Wind on the Moor is a fine collection of tunes and songs, well arranged and well played by Thistle & Roses. But I am left with a dissatisfied feeling.
An atmospheric start with the song Culloden's Harvest, sung by Paul Brockman with such lonely sadness, is full of promise. The psaltery that accompanies him, however, does a lot to distract from his efforts. The song ends with a flute which continues the feeling he has built up. But then the tune changes to a rollicking Athol Highlanders, which sadly fails to rollick.
After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that what the band lacks is depth in overall sound. Psalteries, lap dulcimers, whistles and the like provide a wonderful coloring to the tunes, but in assuming the prominent role they perform on this album, the effect becomes irritating. Even the fiddle and flute are high pitched, leaving me crying out for something more solid.
One tune which bursts into life comes midway through a set. Blarney Pilgrim, a tremendous jig, oozes drive, melody and more - but here, fiddle and flute combine to lead the melody against a simple bodhran and guitar accompaniment. The lower tones add so much.
There is no doubt in my mind that these are excellent musicians who play well. Perhaps they should consider expanding to a quartet, bringing in someone at the lower end to provide more depth and contrast in sound.
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Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz (firstname.lastname@example.org)