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Adrian NationAdrian Nation
Album: Anarchy And Love
Label: Laburnum Bridge
Tracks: 12

This, the fourth solo release from Canadian guitarist / singer Adrian Nation, showcases his renowned acoustic finger-picked open-tuning style, but also introduces, especially on the opening cover of Runrig's "Rocket to the Moon", and his own "With or Without Me" some nicely atmospheric electric playing.

The styles on this album vary from folk-based songs, in particular the beautiful tribute to his late father "Benderloch Stone", which seeks to bridge the Atlantic in its lyrical and musical themes, to the more bluesy title track, which comes across as a cross between Dire Straits (in the slide guitar) and New Model Army (in the semi-spoken vocal).

If the Runrig cover does suffer slightly from the slightly portentous tone that band seems to specialise in, it's nicely constructed, with the guitar supplemented by full band at its climactic moments.

There's a lovely little picked solo instrumental "Carpe Meridianus", full of harmonics, which has me thinking of dust floating on shafts of light through a window. "Dying of Democracy" is another political song (the title says it all really), full of echoing electric guitar and Arabic-influenced fiddle from Scots player Hannah Fisher.

A further nod to Nation's Scottish roots comes from his closing version of "A Man's a Man" which is nice enough, but perhaps doesn't add so much to our understanding of the song as of the performer.

A well put-together collection of songs and instrumentals, which will gain Adrian more fans on both sides of the Atlantic.

Harry Thomson