MAIREARAD & ANNA – Best Day (Shouty Records SHOUTYCD03)

Best DayBest Day is the third album from two of Scotland’s finest instrumentalists, Mairearad Green and Anna Massie, recorded as live in the little Lowlands studio run by Angus Lyon and called Gran’s House.

The first set is called ‘The Red Poppy’ and opens with one of those great Scottish titles, ‘Mrs Colonel L Baillie Of Redcastle’ (‘Captain Campbell Of Drum Of Voisk’ comes later but P/M Duncan Campbell made that one up). That is followed by a set from Cape Breton fiddlers Jerry Holland and Otis Tomas which is bright and sparkly and then the mood changes twice. First comes the rather sedate ‘Musical Flowers’, written for the ladies of the village of Achiltibuie and paired with a traditional polska. Then comes the real surprise as Anna sings ‘She Loves Me (When I Try)’ which, like many of Dougie MacLean’s songs gets under you skin very quickly.

And it goes on: ‘Bottle Island’ is a lovely set including the title track and ‘Julia & Simon’s’ is a pretty slow air. There’s another song, Nanci Griffith’s ‘Always Will’, a sparkling ‘Banjo Set’ and a fine set of traditional ‘Pipe Reels’ to finish off with. All in all, a damn fine album.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

Mairearad and Anna play a set of polkas at the Summer Isles Festival: