The debut album from the country and bluegrass-influenced Hebridean eight-piece fronted by Willie Campbell, Between The Truth And The Dream has a firm emphasis on picking up your feet, getting you out of your seats from the start with the steady stomping mountain music rhythms of ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark’, keeping you on the floor for the 50s mid-tempo mandolin solo shuffle of ‘Heart To My Soul’ on which they sound like a Scottish answer to Terry and Gerry. Fiddle enters the fray for the similarly mid-tempo ‘Knowing Where You Come From’, Campbell’s vocals again reminding me of Gerry Colvin as, indeed, he does on several occasions, especially the Celtic-coloured jaunty shanty stomp of ‘City of Adelaide’.
The introspective, self-examining ‘King Of The Moon’ shows their slower side, ‘Rain And Clay’ swiftly changing the pace for a tambourine-led handclappy bounce with the Iain Spanish Mackay, Paul Martin and double bassist Keith Morrison providing the backing vocals.
Guided by fiddle and Stephen Drummond’s accordion, recorded live ‘Dance A Little Better’ sports a Doug Kershaw ‘Lousiana Man’ Cajun influence while, with it’s a capella intro, ‘Wishing My Time’ takes wing to the Appalchians for another hoedown stamp ‘n’ stomp. The following three tracks slow the pace down, however, kicking off with slow waltzer ‘My Foundation’ and proceeding through the Merle Haggard-like religion-themed honky tonker ‘Torn In Different Ways’, and the double-bass grounded tick-tocking swaying rhythm nod to home and heritage of ‘Stornoway 2AM’. Finally, opening with a military snare, and summoning perhaps Proclaimer comparisons, it ends with the fiddle-swathed paean to enduring friendship bonds that is ‘Years Go By’. There’s plans to tour later this year or early next; I’d advise keeping an eye out and ensuring a place down the front.
‘Dance A Little Better’ – live in the studio: