The Crofters,
Hold My Beer While I Kiss Your Girlfriend
(Glengarry, 2003)

On first listening to this CD I thought the music sounded familiar. And, of course, it was. First, there was the name of the band; a crofter is what a tenant farmer is called in Scotland, for those who may not be familiar with the term. Then there was the familiarity of traditional tunes, though innovatively arranged, and stylistic comparison to other groups. But, on the whole, there's a lot of originality to these 10 tracks.

The Crofters are a young group -- all under 23 -- but they've packed a lot of experience into their cumulative years. Growing up around Glengarry County, Ontario, the members of the band were raised on Scots, Irish and Acadian music. The band was formed in April 2002 by brothers Ewen and Stephen McIntosh, their idea being to "push out" the limits of traditional Celtic music by blending it with traditional folk and popular tunes in a fusion they call Scotch rock.

To understand what that means you have to hear what they do with such traditional tunes as "Scotland the Brave" or "Will Ye Go Lassie Go?" It can't really be described. Add to that the original songs written by Ewen -- "I Met My Father" or "Lowest Light" -- and you have a fresh and inspiring mix that'll have you begging for more.

Between them, the members of the band have an astonishing amount of experience for ones so young. Ewen played bass with the Glengarry Bhoys for several years. Stephen, who plays bass, mandolin, tin whistle and bagpipes, toured with the Peelers and Mahones. When they formed their own group, they recruited longtime friend and percussionist William McKiver and bassist Jeff Dewar, both of whom had been active in the Glengarry music scene.

Stunning stuff, this. Some might say these boys are cheeky and, indeed, they are. But, I'll guarantee they'll set your foot to stomping. If they don't, you're cold-blooded, mon.

This is a debut album, and these boys can only get better with time.

- Rambles
written by John R. Lindermuth
published 5 March 2005