The evocative piano introduction to “Wars O’Germanie” by rising singer Alistair Ogilvy puts me in mind of a young Sean Keane. No bad thing if you’re just starting out on a road that will hopefully prove fruitful in your endeavours as a performer. Producer and engineer Mattie Foulds brings out the best from Ogilvy and in utilising Aly MacRae (piano/fiddle/pocket trumpet [?]), Steven Polwart (guitars) and Inge Thomson (additional vocals) provides enough broad strokes of the brush to colour the performance in well balanced shades. Taking a hoary old chestnut like “The Bonny Ship The Diamond” and doing something interesting with it must have been a bit of a challenge but then MacRae’s interpretation (I’m assuming he has a background in jazz) with its dramatic, brooding chords and double-tracked vocals propels the song with just the right amount of theatrics without over-egging it. On another track and with a customary nod towards his Scottish heritage, the inclusion of Burn’s “Crowdie” and its jaunty double stopped fiddle delivery works surprisingly well coupled with an unusual, but none the less enjoyable setting of “Wantonness”. Finally, on a personal note I’d like to thank Alistair for including Andy M Stewart’s anguished song of unrequited love “Where Are You Tonight, I Wonder”…it truly is a classic in the art of song-writing.
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