This CD arrived just in time for review in this edition (an earlier copy addressed to Tykes seems to have been intercepted by fate). The comments here are, therefore, based on rather more limited acquaintance with the material than I would usually bestow. I must admit that the fact that I came to the first listen with a benevolent frame of mind was somewhat reassuring, as I may otherwise have worried that any negative criticism may have been due to haste rather than considered judgement. The reason for this sunny disposition was the fact that Katriona and Jamie had given us an excellent performance at an early Raggalds Acoustic night and the opportunity to hear what they could do in the studio was a prospect to relish.
Any initial concerns were, however, totally unfounded as this is simply one of the best CDs I have had the opportunity to review during my career here at Tykes. The title of the CD is a perfect description of the content as one of the things that captivates the listener are the degrees of light and shade in the songs and instrumental arrangements. From the driving opener ‘Hunter Man’ to the reflective closing track ‘Travelling in Time’ there is not a dull moment. Katriona’s dynamic fiddle style and Jamie’s percussive guitar playing (including use of the guitar body) enthral throughout, as do the other instrumental contributions from the duo and well chosen guests. From witnessing the live set I was a little worried that their voices may struggle to come through the mix strongly enough to convince but even this fear was confounded as the sound is perfectly balanced. All the songs and tunes are written by Katriona & Jamie, except for a fine arrangement of the traditional ‘All Among the Barley’, and demonstrate a potential that when fully realised will undoubtedly astound. For the purpose of this review I have played this CD at every opportunity during the last 6 days. It will not be long though before it is heard again, such is its originality, power and beauty. Marvellous – an essential purchase.