‘Happy To Be Home’ is the new single from Scottish folk-fusion band Skerryvore featuring legendary Irish musician Sharon Shannon.
The song is the first preview track from the bands new album Decade – a special 10th Anniversary release featuring never heard before live tracks from festivals including Celtic Connections as well as a special live session at Castlesound Studios, Pentcaitland.
‘Happy to Be Home’ is available to download now with the new album Decade set for release on the Monday 1st June immediately following the band’s special anniversary concert on the 30th May when they will perform to over 5000 people at Mossfield Stadium, Oban.
Inspired by sun-filled summers spent on Tiree that were the springboard for the band forming, Chasing The Sun is the fifth and arguably most mature sounding album yet from multi award winning Skerryvore.
From the assured determination of ‘Can You Hear Us?’ and steadfast self-belief of ‘Here I Am’, to the life-is-short urgency of ‘We Can Run’ and wistful reflection of ‘You Were My Friend’, this is an album with all the hallmarks of a band that has lived, learned and played music together for close to 10 years now.
For the band’s loyal followers meanwhile, the rousing ‘You Don’t Know’, ‘Walk With Me’ and instrumentals ‘The Rut’ and ‘Moonraker’ are unmistakably Skerryvore in their ability to get heads nodding and toes tapping.
Written between Roddy Hart’s studio at Film City Glasgow and The Cottage in Loch Fyne, Chasing The Sun was recorded at Castlesound Studios in Edinburgh (Mark Knopfler, REM and The Proclaimers). There, Alec Dalglish (songwriter, vocals, guitars and mandolin), Martin Gillespie (bagpipes and whistles), Daniel Gillespie (accordion), Fraser West (drums and percussion), Craig Espie (fiddle) and new band member Jodie Bremaneson (bass) reunited with producer Alan Scobie (keyboards) to create the next chapter in the Skerryvore success story.
Also featured on Chasing The Sun is the band’s first international collaboration with platinum award winning producer Chris Kess (The Dave Matthews Band) on ‘Blown Away’ and ‘By Your Side’.
I was really looking forward to this, Skerryvore’s fourth album. Unfortunately their major selling-point of upfront Highland bagpipes that played such a major part of the overall sound on their previous recording has been usurped by the more rustic charms of Daniel Gillespie’s accordion and Craig Espie’s fiddle. OK, so the fiddle and accordion were always part of the make-up but I’m not sure about them playing such a pivotal role. Cast your mind back to a time when The Bluebells and Proclaimers were king of the swingers, Skerryvore would have fit as snugly as a rawlplug round a screw right alongside them. With Barry Caulfield (bass), Fraser West (drums) and Alec Dalglish on vocals, guitars and mandolin and guest producer Alan Scobie on keyboards and percussion in general the sound is pleasant but for me at least rarely reaches the peaks of the band’s previous outing. If, however you’re looking for a ‘festival’ band then songs such as the opening track “Put Your Hands Up”, the Big Country sounding “Magic Numbers” or the goodtime Zydeco styled “The Last Time” could have you swaying hypnotically along with your mates in a sweaty marquee. I’m sorry I couldn’t have given this recording a more positive review but then again, perhaps next time? PETE FYFE
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No messing here as Skerryvore kick off with the riff based “Path To Home” featuring a mixture of Jimmy Shand meets the Tannahill Weavers. I’m pleased to say that this is folk-rock that proudly nails its Celtic banner to the mast and leaves the listener with an adrenalin rush that’s hard to shake off. Unlike say the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who go for a full blown stadium sound, Alec Dalglish (vocals/guitars/mandolin), Barry Caulfield (bass), Martin Gillespie (bagpipes/accordion), Daniel Gillespie (accordion), Craig Espie (fiddle) and Fraser West (drums/percussion) paired down approach (much like the early recordings of Runrig) still provide plenty of balls where it counts. If this album is anything to go by then everyone is in for a treat with thrusting, foot-stomping arrangements that will raise the spirits and hopefully any aging folk enthusiasts that like to be ‘entertained’ will find little to carp about. As well as the standard fare of Trad Arr, each member of the band has a hand in crafting the songs/tunes and a great fist of it they make as well. The final ‘live’ track “Home To Donegal” with its rousing anthem style chorus should ensure arm waving aplenty and broad grins all round. www.skerryvore.com PETE FYFE