Hugh Morrison,
Under a Texas Skye
(Dun Eistein, 2007)

Hugh Morrison is a happy transplant, a Scotsman who now lives in Texas (hence the CD's title) and performs with such well-known American-Irish musicians as Jed Marum, who contributes vocals, guitar and banjo on this production.

Morrison has but one instrument, and that he plays well: the button accordion. It's an instrument that requires concentration, dexterity and a true love of some complex and lively tunes. The button accordion just wants to play jigs and reels, and in Morrison's hands it does so with timeless skill.

In typical Irish fashion, Morrison combines tunes, always to good effect: "Calum's Road" and "A Tune for Jimmy," "John McMillan of Marra" with "Glen Galadh Castle," "Rebecca's Reel" and "Granny's Kitchen." Marum sings the lovely "Come by the Hills," with words written by Irish musician Gordon Smith to a traditional Irish tune.

Six of the tunes on this project were composed by Morrison himself, such as the aforementioned "Granny's Reel" and "Rebecca's Kitchen." Morrison gives a bow to his adopted home with the energetic "Texas Made." A highlight for this reviewer was "Red River Valley," sung very sweetly by Marum. It's a song that is often associated with modern musicians such as the Sons of the Pioneers, but has its roots in tradition and probably in Texas.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Barbara Bamberger Scott

22 September 2007

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