Mary MacMaster and Donald Hay - ‘Love And Reason’(December 03, 2011)
We in the ‘folk’ world are blessed with inventive musicians and although, it must be said that the coupling of vocals, harp and drums (or more correctly percussion and programming) hadn’t occurred to me, it had to Mary MacMaster and Donald Hay. And work very effectively on ‘Love And Reason’ it does too.
The reason it works so well is simply that in the hands of two gifted musicians who push the envelope without excess they can create a sound-scape that allows the listener to immerse themselves in a string based aural spa. For me, the starkness conveyed in Sandy Wright’s song ‘Mary Cullen’ is one that projects an image of bleakness in much the same way the ‘Silkie of Sule Skerry’ always does whenever I hear it. On the following track the harp takes over the role originally played by its composer/piper Fred Morrison and in so doing will make the piece more palatable to the general public who are possibly a little sensitive to the (some might say) domineering skirl of the Highland bagpipes.
The juxtaposition of harp and percussion throughout the album may make some ‘folk’ traditionalists baulk at the very thought of allowing something interesting ‘interfere’ with everything they hold dear but if, like me you are willing to let experimentation take its natural course I’m sure you’ll find the recording thoroughly rewarding - ‘Love And Reason’ (MDM Records MDMC001)
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe