Review by Pat Byrne
photo by Dave Arcari
Jim and I had a great night on Saturday when we went through to see Duncan McCrone play at St Margaret's Hall in Linlithgow. The first time we saw Duncan play was at the Folk Festival in the same town four years ago - we were impressed then and no less impressed on this occasion.
Skirlie kicked off the concert, warming up the audience with a great selection of songs and a very relaxed set. The folk at Linlithgow are a particularly friendly bunch and the atmosphere was already very upbeat as Duncan McCrone, Cy Jack, bass and keyboards, and Stevie Lawrence, guitar and bouzouki, took to the stage.
The night just got better and better. It's a pleasure listening to Duncan sing; he has a fine voice and his enjoyment of the music is clear. The lyrics are also clear - some are humourous and some are very beautiful. 'Colourblind', the title track from his new C.D. is a wonderful song; made all the more engaging by Duncan's explanation of the inspiration behind the track.I also enjoyed 'Harbour View Hotel', which is very upbeat and comical - not often you hear lyrics that mention a hotel's 'function suite' but strangely it works very well. Duncan has no problem building up strong and entertaining imagery.
'(I Wanna Be) American' was another hit with the audience, who joined in enthusiastically with the Doo Wops, under the leadership of Cy Jack.
Cy and Duncan co-write many of the songs and have been friends since school-days. Stevie Lawrence is a more recent addition to the band and fits in perfectly. The banter between the three musicians contributes to the show enormously; a bonus on top of the tight playing, the harmonies and huge musical aptitude.
Duncan manages to select a range of songs that he clearly loves and to draw the audience in with traditional songs such as Burns' Rantin' Rovin' Robin.
His approach to putting on a show is very much reflected in his CD, which we played all the way home to Glasgow and have been playing every since.
I agree wholeheartedly with Rab Noakes, who points out that Duncan McCrone is not restricted by perceived barriers which can lead to 'over-tightly controlled, genre-specific music'. Instead he appears to select a mixture of songs that he loves, surrounds himself with talent and together they perform them extremely well. This is why we loved the show.
Pat Byrne, May, 2012.
Colourblind is a mix of Duncan & Cy songs, traditional Scottish works and some very carefully chosen covers by top songwriters of the past and present - "Vast amounts of time and love have gone into it, and I hope that comes across to the listener, whoever he or she may be".