Angus Lyon,
Long Road
(Lochshore, 2001)

Angus Lyon appears to be a well-respected and much sought after musician according to various sources, but this is the first time I've listened to his work. After listening to Long Road, it's evident he's a master of the accordion. The variety of music found on this CD displays a lot of Angus's talent and abilities, including composing.

There is a strange variety of music on the album. It's got some traditional efforts that are very well done, but it's also full of a lot of modern, nearly alternative sounds. It was difficult for me to find a cohesiveness as I picked up very diverse influences plopped into brief sections of track. Selections ranged from three unconnected raw vocal pieces to traditional reels to a taste of blues.

Where an accordion is on the loose, there's bound to be an assortment of instruments gathering. Curiously, there's a mix of sounds here that doesn't blend from track to track It's almost like a variety concert where each act is on its own.

I suspect that this is the way Long Road was meant to be. I think it is basically a showcase for a variety of musicians and singers, though Angus Lyon does appear to have the majority of artistic input. He's composer of several lively reels and jigs on this CD such as "The Penguin," "The Ankle Biters Reel" and "Kennedy's Rampage." Well done, too were a couple of Jerry Holland's compositions including "Johny [sic] Muise Reel."

I really enjoyed the smooth, deep voice of John Wright in "Don't Go." The lyrics weren't bad, a better effort really than "Never Be The Sun" where John struggled to make beautiful music of nonsensical words. Sure, many enjoyable songs don't actually have great lyrics, but this wasn't one. The song "10,000 Miles" was sung by Michelle Graham, who has a medieval, or "Ye Olde English" sound to her light voice. It was pleasing but unexpected and I mused about the song in relation to that other 10,000 mile Brit song.

Angus is joined by musicians Steve Lawrence, Marc Duff, Alistair McCulloch, Fraser Spiers, Wendy Weatherby, Andy Allan, Ross Kennedy, Deepak Baal and Stuart Glasgow, and he thanks everyone with great sincerity on the liner notes. He especially thanks his Dad and Mom "for kicking my arse and making me work." A mature sentiment that won my approval.

On the last track there's a very smooth bluesy beat. I liked it, but there were parts of it that gave me that icky feeling like when melted ice cream runs down your wrist on a warm afternoon, sticky, and uncomfortable, but you keep eating until the ice cream's gone -- like I finished listening until the CD was through ... because the core of it is sooooo good.

So the music jumps around a bit: whistles, piano, guitar, accordion, harmonica, bass, cello. In the mix are really well done pieces, and I do think it's worth a listen if you have the chance. Traditional music has an established place, but it's exciting to follow the artistic meanderings of new and talented artists who add extra dimensions to everyday musical fare.

Anyone who is expecting pure Angus Lyon on this CD will be disappointed, but if you are open to a few different flavors in your cone, here's an interesting blend.

[ by Virginia MacIsaac ]
Rambles: 21 October 2001