A full 20 years on from her last solo album (Dark Pearls), Christine Kydd returns with a voice as stron and compelling as ever. this time she has assembled a varied selection of contemporary and traditional songs, all Scottish in origin. The opener, Michael Marra’s Just Another Rolling Stone, is a splendid version of song by a writer whose songs are notoriously difficult to cover. The rock solid vocals throughout are an absolute pleasure. For a change, the addition of various keyboards, courtesy of the brilliant Angus Lyon, gives this a different vibe from her previous recordings. Fraser Speirs adds his soulful harmonica to a couple of tracks also, including a killer version of The Back of Reres Hill. Two classic Violet Jacob poems set to music by Jim Reid (The Wild Geese/ Norland Wind and Halloween) are in many repertoires, but seldom in the same league as Christine Kydd, who gives them her own special touches of magic. Her true strength, though, is her interpretation of traditional song, and nowhere better than her take on Braes of Balquhidder. Her own trio of compositions, This is the News, Comin on Strong, and the title song, demonstrate that she’s no slouch in putting together her own material also.
This is a collection that showcases one of Scottish folk music’s timeless treasures, who can tackle a variety of sources with confidence and aplomb. My favourite new album of the year so far- and I don’t expect to hear better.
Living Tradition 2019 Review Grem Devlin