Scott McAllister,
(self-produced, 2002)

Sweet but not syrupy,
Mellow but not bland,
Full but not stuffed,
Soft but not easy.

On this Journey, fingerstyle guitarist Scott McAllister shares several of his own compositions and some interesting arrangements he has prepared of tunes by Turlough Carolan. He chose Carolan's "Planxty Irwin," "Planxty Drury," "Si Bhig Si Mhor," "Planxty George Brabazon" and "Captain O'Kane." Though all were played with quite a serious air, there was a bit of life in the "Irwin," " Drury" and "Si Bhig Si Mhor."

What I enjoyed most on this CD were McAllister's own tunes, especially the "Seaside Jig" and "Song for Sandra." These were filled with happiness and light. Unfortunately, my tastes didn't appreciate slower arrangements such as "Eyes of a Child" and "Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 BWV 1007," which were melancholy and, at times, slow enough to be irritating. Not that these were all bad; his "Mountain Air" was one of the slower pieces that had exquisite handiwork by McAllister and Meredith Cooper, who added sharp detail with her violin accompaniment.

It was off-putting at times when the violin would overpower the guitar, and though that might have been planned in the arrangements, I would have liked the guitar to be stronger like in "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon," a fine piece of playing and a wonderful tune.

Overall, this CD shares a style-blend of folk and classical that I'm not sure always works, but there are enough cuts on here to let you enjoy the Journey and appreciate McAllister's guitar style and composing ability. If you believe a journey is not all light and happiness you may appreciate the beauty in McAllister's expressions of sadness more than I. (I believe, but I just don't like to take time to dwell on it.)

The last point about this CD was that the information that came up on the track cuts and album title was for an entirely different CD. Hopefully that is just on these made for review and not on the whole set of recordings. It doesn't change the value of the music at all, but it was confusing for a while.

- Rambles
written by Virginia MacIsaac
published 30 August 2003