Glengarry Bhoys,
The Gathering
(Keltic Cross, 1999)

The Glengarry Bhoys have built a reputation from their high energy, fun live shows. Having seen them live, I wasn't sure how well the energy of their live show would transform into a recording studio. While it is mellower, The Gathering is full of the same blend of Celtic rock that makes their live show so much fun, an enjoyable mixture of original and traditional tunes.

Taking their name from their home of Glengarry in Ontario, Canada, their music can be compared to bands like Seven Nations and Clandestine, who have successfully combined rock and traditional Celtic music, with an emphasis on piping.

Derek MacGregor gets many opportunities to show off his Highland piping, starting with the CD's title track -- a combination of "Slow Aire" and "Cameronian Rant." The rant is considered to be some of the most difficult music to play on the Highland pipes.

Lead singer Graham Wright wrote most of the band's original songs. "Till My Dying Days" is a love song about the end of a relationship, "Over The Mountain" is a love song dealing with death. Both contain thoughtful lyrics combined with nice melodies and show the band's softer side. "Pumpkin's Fancy" and "Hornpipes" are both good piping tunes. The traditional lively song "Mary Mac" combined with a few verses of "Drunken Sailor" are good examples of that these guys do best. "Whiskey in the Jar" is another good arrangement of a traditional song. One of the CD's best songs, written by drummer Zig Leroux, is "Nor'Wester Men." It pays tribute to Canada's northwest explorers. It also includes some of the CD's best vocal harmonies combined with some beautiful, haunting piping.

The Gathering is a good CD, but for the full effect, go see the Glengarry Bhoys perform live.

[ by Dave Townsend ]
Rambles: 23 February 2002