Review by Campbell Cameron
What a fine week it was in the company of the Irish! First it was the marvellous Sawdoctors at the Corran halls in Oban and what a night we had. All the favourites and some from the unreleased, and as yet unnamed, new album. The boys were on song and Leo was happy to chat after the gig. Fresh back in advance of the volcano eruption from Australia - the boys had racked up 14 flights on the tour! It went very well and the Melbourne papers were full of praise for the boys. "We were over years ago" said Lee "but it's so long ago - we were starting again so that was great to hear they liked us!" He agreed that a forest of trees would need to be planted to clear the carbon conscience.
In the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow there was no doubting the crowd's admiration for Finbar Furey.
The All Ireland Uillean piping Champion has a wide talent - not just the pipes but also guitar, banjo and flute and that's before we even discuss his marvellous voice. The gravel vocals gave usThe Red Rose Cafe to begin - that the Furey's biggest hit which was number one in Ireland as the Irish Footballers reached the quarterfinals of the World cup in 1994. He recounted a marvellous moment at half time in a bar in New York when the Irish and Dutch fans sang the song together - but in different languages! Furey is a raconteur extraordinaire and we were treated to marvellous stories before each song which always makes an evening in his company all the more special. He recalled special moments like when the late Liam Clancy came on stage to sing Wild Mountain Thyme one last time with his band. A concert in Mountjoy Jail with a man from his own Dublin estate being assigned his minder for the day were recalled and songs inspired from the same were sung. The most moving was the rendition of The Green Fields of France - the Eric Bogle classic - with the audience in full voice in support - and that was just before half time!
The Sawdoctors make their music at high volume and high voltage - from N17 to the Red and Green of Mayo the audience was seldom still in Oban and that is how they like it.
It was in contrast to Finbar who is more of a traditional balladeer but the Irish brogue and musical talent crosses the sea together with the boys from Ireland, both well mastered by those veterans of song.
Singing shepherd, Iain Thomson, from the Isle of Mull has added Gaelic chanteuse Maeve McKinnon and Fiddler extraordinaire, Charlie McKerron to his band for the Fields of Dreams tour in June. The new CD album is the production debut for ex -Capercailliean, Mark Duff.
Iain will play Cafe Cherubini, Glasgow in mid June, part of the Folk, Blues and Beyond, Acoustic Music Festival at the West End Festival, and will confirm a full band gig at the beginning of June at the Arches.
Other gigs on the tour are Milton of Buchanan, Lochgoilhead, two on Mull and two near Oban. An unmastered version of the title track is available at www.myspace.com/iainthomsonband