Frenzy of the Meeting (Breabach Records)
Overseen by Eamon Doorley of Danú and the Julie Fowlis Band, his fruitful production rekindles a restorative, gratifying, warmth on Frenzy of the Meeting not heard aboard a Scottish record since the likes of Battlefield Band’s Anthem For The Common Man or Capercaillie’s Sidewaulk. Similar elements on this new Breabach disc include the emotive songwriting of Ewan Robertson (Birds of Passage) and Calum MacCrimmon (Winter Winds), and the glorious Gaelic singing of Megan Henderson—her voice surely the equal of a young Karen Matheson’s—casts numerous spells on this recording.
At the heart of this quintet, though, beats the powerful, consummate twin piping of James Duncan Mackenzie and the Edmonton-raised MacCrimmon. Particularly imposing is their cover of the celebrated John D. Burgess’s Invergordon’s Welcome, which segues brilliantly into Henderson’s peurt a buel singing on An E Mo Chur Fodhad? Knees Up, on the other hand, builds from James Lindsey’s tasty bass lines and Ewan Robertson’s instinctive acoustic guitar rhythms, draws in the pipes, until Henderson wraps that glorious voice around Dòchas Glan Na Fàire. Google This follows a similar thread but propelled by bass, wooden flute, and Henderson’s sublime fiddling before she settles into the waulking song Mo Nighean Donn Hò Gù.
Balanced. Seamless. Brilliant. Frenzy of the Meeting boxes all the ticks.