Saturday 22 June 2024

IN THE ROOTS OF MUSIC

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Saturday 22 June 2024

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The Five Day Weekend – Church Street Shuffle.

Jun 9, 2024

The product of a lively, flourishing folk scene at Inverness, Church Street Shuffle – so named after what musicians undertake on a Friday night to play at as many venues as possible along said road – are duo Neil Ewart and Alasdair MacQuarrie, fiddle and guitar respectively. What they conjure is splendid, a healthy mixture of trad and self composed tunes which mix in synths and loops to create a repertoire which is steeped in heritage, respectful of roots and never overwhelmed but buoyed on modern techniques.

These guys know how to use technology to enhance their reels and airs, the approach is that of 2024, it’s just that the material they choose to work with or inform them is a little older than that. The attack from the fiddle and speedy rhythm of the guitar opener ‘Loch An Duin/Sleepy Maggie’ shows that no way are these two going to let the grass grow under their feet, zipping along at runaway train rate. Obviously well versed in playing Scots melodies besides the lightning tracks Ewart & MacQuarrie can also come on atmospheric and tender as they get inside the skin of ‘Hidden’ a stately self write, where synths underscore with total symapthy.

There is no blurring or jarring here as the seven elongated tracks switch with fluent ease between the olden and contemporary ‘Weekend’ is a seamless whole. Top notch playing countered with considered modernity and cavalier intentions, it’ll be interesting to see where they go next. More electronics? Maybe a bass? Catch them live on home turf – as that’s where they seem to be most of the time – and I’ll bet you’ll have blast. On the evidence here they deserve the widest exposure, their debut is indeed seven shades of wonderful. Wonderful but also smart.

Simon Jones. 

churchstreetshuffle.com

birnamcd.com

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