Alistair Anderson & Northlands – self-titled, all-encompassing album(January 05, 2017)
Long acknowledged a virtuoso of the English concertina and outstanding exponent of the Northumbrian pipes, Alistair Anderson has embarked on a new venture, forming a band with singer and flute player Sarah Hayes, Sophy Ball on fiddle and nyckelharpa, and Ian Stephenson playing guitar, double bass and piano. The result is a self-titled album of considerable worth, releasing on 7 January, and delivers a fine selection of tunes and songs.
The interplay between the band members is evident as is the individual excelling musicianship, it’s this combination that gives this album a closeness and togetherness. There’s an intimacy here that places the performers in the room with the listener ... and that’s exactly what Alistair Anderson & Northlands brings, a time to listen and become involved with some excellent music. This is an all-encompassing album from thought provoking songs like the solemn truth of ‘Taking On Men’, the beautiful ‘The Snow It Melts The Soonest’ and the sorrowful resignation of ‘Last Shift’ to foot-tapping and dance-provoking tune sets such as the march/ jig combination of ‘Iain MacPhail’s Compliments To Chrissie Latham/ Cooper of Stannerton Heugh/ One-Horned Sheep’ andutterly effervescent ‘Neil Taylor’s/ Fourth Of February/ Strawberries Galore’.
The spread of music covers tradition to contemporary, touches New England alongside Northumbria, reaches from ballad to waltz and jig, and throughout absorbs completely. With this self-titled album, Alistair Anderson & Northlands lays down a marker that hopefully points the way to more from this band.
Review: Tim Carroll