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Hello World
Greentrax  CDTRAX 345

As influences go the trinity of Messer’s Duncan, Morrison and Bennett are as good as it gets. Add traces of Armstrong and MacDonald and a healthy dose of individual talent and you have the basis for Lorne MacDougall’s debut album Hello World.  The influence of the aforementioned trinity form the backbone for this recording and it is no exaggeration to say that a number of the tracks would sit easily on their recordings without in anyway being out of place. This is a reflection of not just the tremendous quality of Lorne’s musicianship (at home on whistle, border pipe and highland pipe and twice nominated in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year) but also the quality, and invention, of the arrangements.

The Gravel Walk set evokes the late Gordon Duncan in a way, and a speed, that I am sure Gordon would have approved of. The waltz of slurs set with Lorne’s rhythmic Rebecca Brown’s Welcome To Campbeltown and it’s faint echoes of Fred’s Kansas City Hornpipe could easily have come from Outlands and as for rearranging the Jig Of Slurs into a waltz – well what could be more Fred than that. Martyn’s influence is, on the face of it, more straightforward as Lorne plays his The Magic Flute solo on whistle as the final track, yet Martyn’s creative approach to traditional music is reflected, by Lorne, throughout this CD.

That quiet reflective ending sums up the CD, for Lorne mixes his new tunes (and for Hello World and Scalasaig he includes the music in the sleeve notes) with fresh takes on old tunes, The Sound Of Sleat and Mrs MacPherson Of Inveran both get a radical overhaul and splices the lot into sets that are clever, and importantly, musical. Lorne is careful not to sacrifice melody on the altar of invention.

A strong supporting cast including Ross Kennedy, James MacIntosh, Andy Thorburn and even producer Brian McNeil, to name but a few, add magnificent support, with Ross even taking the lead on the only song on the album, John Martyn’s Fisherman’s Dream.
Lorne has created a CD that is the synthesis of where pipers in the traditional scene have been taking the music for the last twenty years. It’s a very good place!

Chris Mackenzie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 87 of The Living Tradition magazine.