Old Blind Dogs
These longtime veterans of the Scotland neo-traditionalist music scene can serve up Bobby Burns songs in their sleep, and they open the album with the standard "Is There for Honest Poverty." What is interesting is the large extent to which they’ve merged world music with traditional Celtic songcraft over the past few albums. That continues here with percussionist Paul Jennings’ inventive forays into polyrhythmic playing. Combine that with the able piping of Rory Campbell and fiddling of Jonny Hardie and you have good stuff. Jim Malcolm’s singing is a bit overlaid on the choruses for me, and he could use more passion on songs like "Reres Hill," but the instrumentality creates fine moods on the jivey "Much Better Now" and the evocativally Eastern "Country Girl" as it segues into "Hungarian Fiddler." Equally fine is "Cuilfhionn" with its slow elegance and moody interplay of flute and fiddle.