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Gary InnesGary Innes
Album: Imminent
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12

If you think that Scotland Shinty Captain, auxiliary fire fighter and professional accordion player makes for an odd combination then you haven't come across Gary Innes! Accordionist with the mighty Mànran, Innes' latest solo offering, Imminent, takes inspiration from all of these diverse interests to create a toe tapping treat.

From the jaunty Dr. Brian Tegaskis to the solid groove of The Persistent Trout, every single track on this album is a cracker. With the exception of Ewan Henderson's infectious tune, John Smeaton, the album is all composed by Innes and showcases his talents as a versatile tunesmith, lyricist and arranger. While the majority of tracks are up-beat, like the high octane Sgeol Lionacleit Pipe Band's Welcome to New York or The Alpha Runrig with its fantastic syncopated accompaniment, there are a few gentler moments too. Sheerwater is inspired by a father and son trip to the Isle of Eigg and really captures the motion of the boat on the water. The Howler is a lovely, lilting set of jigs, one inspired by having his nose broken! My personal favourite is Trade Winds. Lots of albums have tunes that make you go "I'd like to learn that one" but I had my fiddle out of the case before the track was even finished!

Alongside the instrumental excellence are three excellent songs. Recent single Swan Song, featuring the sublime vocals of Karen Matheson, is a heartfelt goodbye from loved ones. The lyrics are incredibly poignant, the melody tender and the delivery exquisite. Dream Fields is equally poetic, dedicated to six friends who have committed suicide. Again, the delivery from Ross Henderson is perfect, capturing the struggle and pain that so many people still feel they have to hide. The entry of the strings lifts the lyrics up, turning a touching and gentle track into something that soars and swoops before coming gently back to earth. Gary's comment on Starlight was "well this was never meant to happen - me singing that is!" How fortunate that it did because the song, and singing, is fantastic. Lively and upbeat, it's incredibly catchy and definitely a good one for singing along to.

If you are looking for an album featuring exceptional musicianship, excellent tune writing, rock solid arrangements and beautiful singing, then this is the one for you. Equally, if you just want some music that will put a smile on your face, Imminent will do that too. You can catch Gary on tour with Mànran at the moment.

Nicky Grant