Cosmic Ceilidh is the debut album written and (mostly) performed by multi-instrumentalist Steve Brown of Arisaig in the Scottish Highlands under his nom de plume, Broon.
Steve has been a professional musician since 1993 and has co-written and produced albums while in various rock bands. His “day job” has been live gigs and so lockdown has given him the time to complete this Broon album, his first foray into World Music/Celtic Fusion/Acid Croft/Prog Croft!
The tracks on the album have been written over a six year period, inspired by friends, family and life in the Highlands – recorded by Steve in his Rivendell Studio in Arisaig.
Steve says: “It’s a game of 3 halves. Stylistically this is really 2 or 3 albums in 1. After a lot of thought I decided to place all of these styles into the one sonic basket and hope the journey makes sense to some! The mellow solo acoustic guitar tracks give some respite from the full band melees and the electric guitar tunes lend some contrast to the main mandolin wonderments.”
On this album Steve plays mandolin, guitars, bass, piano, accordion and programmed drum loops. Other musicians include John Whyte of Glenfinnan on trombone, Pete Harbidge of New Zealand on cornet and Eoin de Paor of Westmorland on fiddle, whistle, flute and bass. By the wonders of modern production loops, three tracks also feature drums by Neil Peart, the recently deceased percussionist from the Canadian band Rush. Steve is a massive Rush fan (he organises an annual Rush fan convention, raised over £50k for cancer charities) and astute listeners may spot familiar themes.
Originally from Stirling, Steve has lived in Arisaig for 20 years – absorbing many a session run by local folk legends Eilidh Shaw and Ross Martin in the Arisaig Bar. Witnessing the mighty Shooglenifty live in Glenuig Hall was a life-changer too. Original mandolin player Iain MacLeod was hugely influential in inspiring Steve to pick up that beautiful wee instrument.
Ideally this album should be listened to in the running order presented. Some musical themes are hinted at then expanded later, plus the busier tracks are broken up with the more mellow solo acoustic pieces. It has been noted that this album may contain too many differing styles however this became deliberate since it sums up Steve’s versatility and dare it be said, breaking the rules of genre.
Steve says: “Even though this album has been produced over a few years it has really come together during lockdown. Not only has lockdown given me the time to finish it but the mixed styles represent the gamut of emotions experienced during this dry period of not being able to gig.”
Artist’s website: www.broon.net
‘Arisaig Boogie’ – official video:
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