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March 04, 2006

Hail Music

I've updated the Potted Music page, mostly because I discovered a link on TradTunes to a free sampler album from HAIL Music. They're a collective of Highlands and Islands labels, and the sampler includes Blazing Fiddles, Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis, amongst others. You will have to register with Trad Tunes to see the tracklisting, but still. Great stuff.

In one of those weird coincidences, The Wailin Jennys came to London just after Erik Olson recommended them to us, so we saw them at the Borderline. We were surprised to realise that the lineup has changed from the one on the album 40 Days, with Annabel Chotsvek replacing Cara Luft. This is a slight problem for me, because the Cara Luft songs were amongst my favourites on the album, and I'm definitely going to check out her solo work. Which I can, because there are mp3s on her site. Try No Friend of Mine. But the Jennys are still worth seeing; great harmonies, clever instrumentation including good use of small drums, and consistently strong material becuase they benefit from all writing songs.

The Wailin Jennys were part of an Americana season at the Borderline where in this case 'Americana' seems to mean 'all bands from North America with any traditional overtones at all'. In a couple of weeks that will include Enter the Haggis, a celtic rock band that people regularly recommend to me. They have downloads on their site: try December Ends.

If that wasn't enough of sweet female harmonies we also saw Rachel Unthank & the Winterset at Bush Hall. The Unthanks are sturdy Northern lasses with lovely voices. And a little bit of clog-dancing, which looked a bit trepidatious on the Bush Hall stage.

Rachel Unthank was supported by Helen Roche, an Irish traditional singer with a couple of mp3s on her website (try Willie O), and by Emily & Hazel Askew, who play fiddle and melodeon.

In other news, we have a new car! New as in so shiny new that I couldn't work out what the "17M" on the dashboard meant (yes, it was the odometer). It has all sorts of superfluous technology, including a hands free remote, so that the car automatically (and silently) unlocks when you approach. Which is absolutely like living in the future.

Posted by Alison Scott at March 4, 2006 11:20 AM


Okay, there's where we differ, because other than the outstanding "Beautiful Dawn", it's Nicky's songs that really sing out to me in the WJ catalog.

Congrats on the new car -- it looks rather reasonable, and almost huge[1].

[1] Huge by rational standards. Many on the stupid side of the pond would consider it pathetically small and underpowered. I think it's too big, but there's only one of me, not the canonical family of four.

I'm amused at the apologetic tone of the engine offerings -- given that my Civic weighs in at 1200kg, and has about 90hp, it moves quite fast enough, thank you. 115hp should move 1600kg at a reasonable clip.

Posted by: Erik V. Olson at March 5, 2006 06:08 AM

Are you quite sure they haven't just given you a car that is never locked?

It's a bit of a Zen one, this.

Posted by: Michael Abbott at March 10, 2006 02:46 PM

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