Rory Campbell,
(Vertical, 2007)

The pipes are rapidly becoming the instrument of choice with record producers, and in Rory Campbell we find a true maestro. This 14-track album gives us a broad picture of the artist as composer as well as expert instrumentalist, and we also get some vocal pieces.

He opens with a track that translates as "The Song of the Moccasins." He traces the song to Newfoundland, with a few additional verses located by his father, Roddy. Yes, it really is a song about shoes. His father features again on the fast-paced instrumental "Cotton Eyed," this time as the composer.

Campbell's "Gavotte & Polka" join Brittany and Northumberland in music. "Joga," on the other hand, is an unusual but fascinating vocal piece that is worth a listen. He then pays tribute in music to a fellow piper on "Dodd Copeland."

There is even a tune for his wife, a beautifully written and performed track called simply "Anya." Another lovely track is called "Dreams." On this his voice is on top form as he uses both English and Gaelic to sing about love.

In the notes to the track "Nice to be Home, Pour the Mustard," Campbell informs us that the latter is a "technical" term concerning the sound desk. Well, it certainly works on this album.

Campbell concludes a wonderful recording with a plaintive piece called "Sunny Outside" that dates back a few years but is a lovely closer.

by Nicky Rossiter
5 May 2007

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