The River’ by Hamish Napier - paints vivid pictures-in-sound

(February 03, 2016)

So the idea behind the debut solo album from Hamish Napier is inspired by growing up next to the fast flowing River Spey in the northeast of Scotland and the aim of the album is to reflect his own and his family’s relationship with the Spey. Not the hamish napier the rivereasiest of musical tasks. Napier states: "No mortal's relationship with the river can ever be truly harmonious, its ever-changing micro-climate, mysteriously dark depths and unrelenting power are both merciless and enchanting." And daunting thought the task may be, it’s my opinion that Napier has achieved his aim with ‘The River’.

Through a diverse combination of flutes, whistles, pianos, harmonium, organ, clavinet, double bass and bodhran, combined with a fine ear for crafting evocative melodies, Napier brings the river alive. With tunes like the moody title track ‘The River’ reflecting its temperamental depths and the sparkling zest of ‘The Whirlpool’ the album paints vivid pictures-in-sound and takes you Spey-side allowing you to tune into the spirit of its ways. Throughout, the album releases the lights and darks, joys and sorrows, histories and mysteries of life lived with the river as its background. With the haunting ‘Drowning of the Silver Brothers’ the music evokes both a real-world tragedy and a sinister mythology, equally ‘Fate of the Kelts/ Out To Sea’ pulls into focus the life and death of Spey salmon.

‘The River’ is an inspired album ... music that conjures the magic a living breathing river and the life that surrounds it.

Playing on the album are Hamish Napier (whistles, wooden flutes, piano, harmonium, Rhodes, Wurly, clavinet, bean pods, backing vocals) Sarah Hayes (alto flute) James Lindsay (double bass) Martin O’Neil (bodhran) and Calum MacCrimmon (vocals on ‘Canntaireachd’) plus additional vocals from oystercatchers, curlew, heron and the River Spey itself. Find album and artist here:

Review: Tim Carroll

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