Dundee acoustic music club brought two wonderful contrasting acts to the stage marking the club’s first birthday.
The description from their own web site includes the line “bluegrass standards choppy bass line dobro through Scottish airs on harp” which at first glance could lead to anticipating an Alaskan harp player and Scottish dobro player doing the obvious and reviewers making a lazy comparison with other transatlantic collaborations. The North Atlantic Project are way more adventurous. They offer an exciting juxtaposition playing music from their homeland on instruments more associated with the opposite side of the Atlantic. American dobro playing Celtic music and harp playing old timey bluegrass melodies turned any preconceptions upside down. It is clear that the thoughtful arrangements can only be pulled off if there is serious technique to back their ambition. Graham Muir provided a solid mellow foundation on fretless bass that allowed enough space for Dave and Cheyenne’s sliding sparkling melodies. Dave’s Dobro, guitar and voice were superb throughout taking dobro unexpectedly beyond bluegrass to the Celtic tradition. Cheyenne’s harp when playing bluegrass melodies that required extensive use of the tuning leavers was both expressive and breathtaking.
A magnetic blend of musicianship, material, exciting arrangements combined to delight the audience.
Mahrianish played a support set of fiddle led material. Katherine Liley’s assured fiddle playing demonstrated the wide breadth of fiddle styles:from Ireland a great version of the peacock’s feather, West of Scotland pipe tunes then reels with Martin MacDonald’s swingy guitar backing evoking a Shetland flavour, his melody picking and chordal jazzy backing demonstrated his mastery of the instrument. Nathan Bissette on double bass provided a great support to the melodies adding variety on tenor banjo. Another wonderful programme of music from acts selected by the Dundee Acoustic music club heralding what promises to be an exciting second year of concerts.