Bob's lush acoustic guitar sound (a 1994 Lowden O-12, according to the liner notes) is in the direct tradition of the English folk revival, with echoes of John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. This is a superbly recorded album of guitar instrumentals ranging from traditional ballads through O'Carolan and his own original compositions.
Bob's classical guitar background is evident in his technique and arrangements, but he avoids overplaying or overarranging. Although originally from Glace Bay, Cape Breton, his choice of material strikes me as being inspired more from the vocal tradition of the great ballads and the instrumental harp airs than from the jigs, reels and strathspeys of the dance tradition. As well as the Celtic influence, Latin rhythms are introduced with Celtino.
Although this CD is entirely instrumental, Bob's live act includes songs from his Ontario, Scottish, and Cape Breton roots. I hope his next CD will include some examples of those.
One of my favourite tracks on the CD is the traditional ballad Jock O' Hazeldean (2.5 Mb), which you can listen to in MPEG 3 audio. (For info on MPEG 3 and free players, go to MP3.com).
Review by Wil Macaulay March 8 1999
Mailing address: Argyle House Resources 46 Elora St. Guelph Ont, N1H 2X8 519 821 8028 The Tunes: November Rain Jock O'Hazeldean Touch the Dance The Dark Plaintive Youth My Hiking Boots Celtic Fare: Barbara Allen/ Banks of Loch Lomond/ My Bonnie/ The Banks of Red Roses/ Early One Morning/ Mairi's Wedding Intro - Lord Randall Celtino! Lament for Owen Roe O'Neill/ Planxty Dennis O'Connor A Tune for Jenn/ My Son the Artist/ The Curly Molly Ni Chuilleanian Blind Mary The Dewy Dells of Yarrow/ She Changes Everthing She Touches. Plantxy Thomas Burke St George's Square
Copyright © 1999 Wil Macaulay