The Key is Blazin' Fiddles' ninth studio albums in nineteen years, demonstrating an impressive work ethic. Formed by Bruce McGregor for a one off gig in the 1998 Highland Festival, the Celtic band based in the Highlands and Scottish Islands have gone from strength to strength. While their line-up changes regularly, the makeup is consistent, four fiddles with piano and guitar.
For fans of the band, you already know what you are going to get here. This is a slickly produced and perfectly executed melding together of some exception talents. While there are no surprises on the record, filled as it is with Highlands fiddle tunes, there is still a lot to enjoy. Break The Light is an upbeat, fast tempo track, a perfect opening for the album. Other highlights include The Highlander's Revenge, and the uplifting Harris Dance which ends the record on a high.
Arguably the strongest track comes early on, however. The Black Pig is a wonderful mixture of different tracks, starting slowly before speeding up and really showcasing the fiddle skills of those involved. By the time it ends you'll have a guaranteed smile on your face. The Rose of St. Magnus is a beautifully mournful and emotional experience, with the lead fiddle especially effective, sounding almost like a vocal performance.
If you are not already familiar with Blazin' Fiddles, what you'll get here is some of the best fiddle playing you're ever going to hear, and one of the best instrumental albums of the year. There may be no surprises, but when a band are this good at what they do, there is a lot to enjoy.
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