Jed Marum,
Sands of Aberdeen
(Boston Road, 2008)

With an eclectic mix of the music of Ireland and Scotland along with some new works, Jed Marum -- along with Hugh Morrison and Mason Brown -- has produced another must-have collection.

Marum must be one of the most prolific recording artists on the scene today. His highly individual and always welcome albums appear with startling regularity. This CD, Sands of Aberdeen, opens with the title track from his own pen, and as ever it tells a tale with brio and feeling.

In addition to his own work and his interpretation of traditional songs, Marum showcases the songs of other writers; on this occasion, his renditions of Brian McNeill's songs like "The Rock & the Tide" are excellent. Another McNeill song on offer is "The Belles of Ontario," and this shows a very distinct and wonderful shade of Percy French in the witty and erudite lyrics.

"Broom of the Cowdenknowes" will be familiar to many from the singing of Mary Black. Marum takes the Scottish folk song and, by upping the tempo, gives us a wonderful new tune. Re-interpretations of old favourites is a risky business, but this time it pays off. Another piece of standard fare of the early folk circuit that he resurrects is "Down by the Glenside," and once more he breathes new life into a lovely song so often neglected.

"The Star of the County Down" will forever stick in my mind as one that was drummed into us by the Christian Brothers at school. Then we heard Van Morrison give his version. Now Jed Marum brings it to us, too. A modern classic that he re-interprets is Phil Coulter's "The Town I Loved so Well." This is fascinating if only for the lovely guitar intro. "Annie Laurie" is on of those songs where the title is probably better known than the song. I thought I knew this song, but in fact this was my first time actually hearing it performed. With just a beautiful guitar backing, Marum brought alive a sense of old Scotland.

This album is another triumph for Marum and company.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

28 February 2009

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