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:

Dala to release Best Day

Dala, the two-piece award winning duo of Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine, are releasing their fifth studio record, Best Day, on May 29th. With lush intertwining harmonies, the duo underscores the folk-pop album’s “life is short” message with accompaniment from piano, guitar, ukulele and minimal drums. The title track of the album is currently available as a single exclusively on iTunes via the artist web link below.

Throughout their career the duo have toured tirelessly, building their following the old-fashioned way, turning first time listeners into instant, die-hard fans, winning 5 Canadian Folk Music Awards and a Juno nomination. Dala has played all over North America and for the highest profile music festivals, among them New Orleans Jazz Fest, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Denver’s Swallow Hill, the Lowell Summer Concert Series, Strawberry Music Fest, Sisters Folk Festival the and 50th Anniversary of the Newport Folk Festival in 2009 – where Dala were the only Canadian act invited to play. Last summer Dala hosted a PBS special primetime concert entitled “Girls From The North Country” which aired all over North America with multiple plays in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston Portland, Austin, Cleveland, Charlotte and more.

Artist Web link: