Steer by the Stars
They have come a long way the members of the Scottish band Skipinnish since Andrew Stevenson on bagpipes and Angus MacPhail on accordion started playing together in 1999.
Twenty years later, the band, which has grown from its current eight members to a group that counts in Scotland, is now one of the most sought-after live bands. Especially since Runrig and Wolfstone, who play in the same register, have hung up their boots.
This is already their eighth album entitled Steer by the Stars.Skipinnish offers us a very pleasant folk-rock musical experience led by eight talented and energetic musicians. In addition to the first two musicians are Norrie MacIver on vocals, Rory Grindlay on drums, Alistair Iain Paterson on piano, Alasdair Murray on bagpipes, Charlotte Printer on bass and Archie McAllister on fiddle.
A majority of them are from Western Scotland, including the Outer Hebrides (Tiree and Lewis). Not surprisingly, their repertoire is very strongly rooted in maritime themes. The sea is present from the first track Anchors of the Soul and then on many others. Undoubtedly the bagpipe occupies a prominent place on this album and it is present on many songs The Lads of Mull, The Atholl Set.
Equipped with a young singer who joined the group in 2016, the songs take the lion's share of the band's repertoire, no less than ten of the fourteen tracks. And among these songs the Gaelic language is not absent: Chur Bhreacain or Puirt Set, a suite of Puirt a Beul or mouth music. Finally, it should be noted that Angus MacPhail has a disproportionate inspiration since he signs nine tracks out of fourteen. A host of guests, impossible to name them all. Let's just mention Malcolm Jones, Runrig's guitarist who plays on two tracks.
In the end, all you can expect from a Skipinnish album is here: aerial bagpipe flights mixed with excellent songs. Too bad they're not popular around here.
Skipinnish SKIPCD28 – www.skipinnish.com