Abby Newton,
Crossing to Scotland
(Culburnie, 1997)

Abby Newton's Crossing to Scotland is a slow, sweet collection. Featuring a skilled cello player, this music offers ancient Scottish tunes, relaxed and lyrical, yet with their own sprightly beat. These traditional folksongs seem slower than Irish tunes, written less for dancing and more for humming along.

Mostly filled with slow airs, the CD is broken up by a few faster jigs, played equally expertly on the cello. Newton, the cellist, is accompanied at times by the fiddle, Celtic harp, piano, guitar, accordion and upright bass, offering a full band. "Sister Jean" is bright and quick with an unusual chordal structure. "Loftus Jones" comes from Turlough O'Carolan, an Irish harper from the time of Bach. "Heroes of Longhope" emphasizes the harp as it blends with the cello in fairylike beauty.

This CD offers pleasant background tunes for an office or home, entirely without lyrics. These Scottish tunes played on a low cello provide a marked contrast to higher, faster Irish fiddles. Many of these songs remind the listener of classical music, complex yet infinitely soothing. The songs blend seamlessly, with similar tones, yet each has its own flare. This collection is less contemporary than many of its competitors, with relaxed, traditional airs. The tunes wander along, drawing the listener in with their classic beauty.

- Rambles
written by Valerie Frankel
published 10 October 2003

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