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Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
Pop Scottish singer-songwriter Willie Campbell hits the road running and never looks back, and with wave after wave of exciting, cranked up music plundering the airwaves. The former co-front man of indie band Astrid and founding member of Gary Lightbody’s Reindeer Section, Campbell now living on the Isle Of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides performs the bulk of the material in Gaelic, and with the melodies waxed in great beauty this only strengthens the record. The music crosses over, and easily, into the contemporary singer-songwriter pop rock field.
Campbell’s decision to relocate to the Isle of Lewis has seen him partner veteran Gaelic folk rock musician Calum Martin and its been a productive one with five of the tracks on the album co-writes. Housing interests in Gaelic Psalm singing, melodic sixties pop and Nashville Americana they have well utilised this and in the likes of the dashing (melodic pop hinted) “Tim Seasamh Seimh” and jangling guitar warmed “Samhach” and jumping “Am Balach Coir” (performed in a fashion akin to Runrig or The Saw Doctors).
Alongside the forceful pop rock fare Campbell produces an exquisite acoustic version that has Duncan McKinnon sing lead of traditional song “Faisg Air Mo Dhia”. Drenched in mandolin, harmony vocals it has become a waltz-like piece; dripping in grace and infinite beauty. So tranquil you don’t want the song to end, but end it must. As it makes way for “Kerry” and on closing the album Campbell has two songs recorded in English, “Time Stood Still” (a clever little drama made for the stage or TV, maybe) and the uptempo “Kerry Can You Hear Me”.
Musicians taking part are Campbell (acoustic, electric guitar, percussion), Angus Mackay (drums) and Chris Martin (bass) plus Brian McNeil (organ, synths), Scott Neubert (acoustic, electric guitar, mandolin, Dobro), Martin (acoustic, bass guitar, organ and backing vocals) and others. Fans of the likes of Damien Dempsey will like this and Campbell's music in general.
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