Corrine Hewat,
My Favourite Places
(Foot Stompin', 2003)

My Favourite Places is an enchanting CD, presenting a balance of traditional songs and tunes, mostly rearranged by performer Corrine Hewat, and several instrumental pieces composed by her, with a lovely rendition of "When I Dream" blending seamlessly with the other tracks on the album.

Hewat's own compositions, played with panache and skill on the electro-harp, range from the rather stately and powerful title track to the merry "Harmonics/Martyn's Jig," evocative of spring, to the definite foot-tapper "Sharon and Mark," written for two friends.

Hewat has previously proven her vocal skills (I still regularly play Shine's Sugarcane). She delivers the traditional "Sheath and Knife" ("the broom blooms bonnie, the broom blooms fair") with suitable intensity and is eloquently plaintive with the poignant "The Banks of the Nile," and she repeats this masterful performance with Robert Burns' "Ae Fond Kiss." "Banks of the Nile" lingers in the mind long after the CD stops playing, which proves the strength of her singing, as it is the third track on the album. She livens up the mood with jigs: "Brose and Butter/Drops of Brandy," and later "Hogties Reel/Baltic Square Jig." She closes with her vocal composition "A Raft of Oak," which she sings to a tune she based on Scott Skinner's "Twist Ye, Twine Ye" melody, accompanied by piano, and a strong drum presence.

This album is perhaps a little on the somber side, but is easy to listen to and tempting enough to just press replay -- by which time you find yourself singing along on a couple of songs, even if you lack Hewat's clear and dulcet tones!

- Rambles
written by Jenny Ivor
published 17 January 2004