‘Wooden Flute & Fiddle’ from Calum Stewart and Lauren MacColl(September 25, 2012)
Some may be some wary of an album simply titled ‘Wooden Flute & Fiddle’. Is there enough depth and expanse to hold your interest? The answer is a simple and resounding ‘Yes’. This is an album of enchanting tunes that swirl and rise to wrap around you and the extent of its breadth and intensity is profound.
This is the first duo album from Calum Stewart (wooden flute ) and Lauren MacColl (fiddle and viola) and on ‘Wooden Flute & Fiddle’ the tunes and influences from the north of Scotland rub shoulders with those from Ireland, Cape Breton and Brittany. On the album Calum and Lauren are joined on some tracks by the precise flair of Éamon Doorley (bouzouki) and Andy May (harmonium).
From the eloquently energetic brilliance of ‘Eoghainn Ian Alasdair’ you’re immediately transported to the compelling and faintly magical realm of wooden flute and fiddle. This is music that sounds immediate and fresh and then in a heartbeat as old as the hills. There’s a clear and tangible symbiosis between these two musicians that creates an insight into each other’s playing. The result is the essential purity and intrinsic truth of their music. The slide into the multi-layered mix ‘The Gordons’ is expressive in its range and along with the rising, expansive splendour of ‘The Alzen’ delivers a sparkle you cannot ignore.
Lauren’s joyful tune ‘Crow Road Croft’ exults through the magic of the highlands, while Calum’s pairing of slow jig and reel with ‘Aileen's Jig and The Old Road North’ slowly takes you down gently engaging paths of emotion. And for me the evocative charisma of ‘A Highland Lamentation’ is nothing short of spiritual.
The more you hear the more you realise you’re listening to something truly special – and the result will assuredly hold your interest for some time to come.
The album releases on 22 October on Make Believe Records, catalogue: MBR3CD. Buy your copy here: http://www.laurenmaccoll.co.uk/shop/
Reviewer: Tim Carroll