‘Remembering’ Ross Ainslie – fashioning utterly mood enhancing music(August 18, 2015)
It’s not unusual for an artist to reflect themselves through their music – directions, experiences, changes, memories - sometimes such revelation works and touches a wider audience, other times it becomes an exercise in introverted soul baring. ‘Remembering’ from Ross Ainslie may well be an intensely personal examination of experiences and people through memories and a wider sharing of those moments, however it is also a beautifully constructed, instantly appealing and honestly revealing album. ‘Remembering’ also offers listeners an entrancing weave of music and song from one of Scotland’s premier traditional musicians and composers.
The album opens with the contemplative questioning of ‘Change’ with its memorable melody, moves to the gentle wish of ‘Fly Higher’ before the soft delicacy of ‘Lullaby for Mel’ offers its enthralling slow melody. What makes these five songs and three tune sets so remarkable is their interaction throughout the album, there’s no random collection here but a progression that leads listeners through a journey. Songs with the intensity of ‘Dreaming Daisy’ and the meaningful ‘Head High’ sit perfectly alongside tunes like the evocative ‘Remembering’ and ‘Skins’. And to wind up the album there’s the impressive ‘Nowhere To Go’ suite, parts A, B and C – a powerful bonding of tradition and innovation.
As ever, it’s a lightness of touch combined with a fearlessness to build style and shape that sets Ainslie’s music apart from the rest – a mix of melody and rhythm fashioning compositions into utterly mood enhancing music. Albums like ‘Wide Open’ and ‘Airfix’ with Jarlath Henderson have set the bar for Ainslie’s albums, ‘Remembering’ clears it in one leap.
Playing on ‘Remembering’ are Ross Ainslie (Highland Pipes, whistles, cittern, vocals) Ali Hutton (acoustic guitar) Gordy Duncan Jr (drums, vocals) Hamish Napier (keys, vocals) James Lindsay (bass) John Somerville (accordion) Laura-Beth Salter (mandolin, vocals) Laura Wilkie (fiddle, vocals) Matheu Watson (electric guitar) Steven Byrnes (vocals). Website: www.rossainslie.com
Review: Tim Carroll