A mainstay of the Northern Ireland folk scene in the 1980's, Heather Innes moved to Scotland in 1990, where she has been busy with a singing career firstly as a solo singer, and latterly as a member of the harmony trio Caim. So busy has she been, in fact, that this is her first solo album since 1994. Assembled and recorded over a two year period, it clocks in at a massive 18 tracks.
It finds her in, for the most part, a contemplative, ruminative mood, where questions large and small provide the linkage between the songs. It also includes a very evocative poem-The Road to Rannoch- by Margaret Gillies Brown, which she follows with her own song Rannoch. Both together conjure up a place of singular beauty, and it is on material of this kind that Innes excels. The spine-tingling harmonies from Caim on numbers like Martin Donnelly's Chain of Song -not the only song on which they feature-really add an edge.
For me, though, the standout song on a very interesting collection is the Kieran Goss/Kimmie Rhodes co-write Sacred Ground. With only fiddle and muted bodhran as a musical backdrop, this is a very impressive piece of work. Its starkness, and the reverence contained in the vocal delivery lift it on to another plane. I have listened repeatedly to this album since receiving it, and commend it heartily to those who, like myself, prefer their music straight up, no chaser. An honest, engaging collection which has been more than worth the wait.
Oliver P. Sweeney
|James Edwyn and the Borrowed Band: High Fences||Damien O'Kane: Avenging & Bright|
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