North Sea Gas,
Edinburgh Toon
(Scotdisc, 2010)

I can only assume the name North Sea Gas is a reference to one of Scotland's most valuable natural resources. In this case its an apt comparison, because I'd say the same about the band North Sea Gas, which has been promoting the sounds of Scotland for three decades, and counting.

Edinburgh Toon is the latest in a series of 10 more albums this excellent trio has recorded over the years. This one was recorded live at The Lot in Edinburgh, a caber's toss away from the site of their first gig, the White Hart Inn. One might joke -- and the band does, in its opening to the show -- that they haven't gotten very far in 30 years ... but it's not the mileage so much as the quality of the trip. And these three musicians have continued to be unfailingly great at what they do.

NSG is Dave Gilfillan on lead and harmony vocals, banjo, guitar, whistle and bodhran, Ronnie MacDonald (how did the misspelling "McDonald" slip by on the liner notes?) on lead and harmony vocals, bouzouki and guitar, and Grant Simpson on lead and harmony vocals, fiddle, mandola, bouzouki and guitar. The 16 tracks here are a mix of selections, mostly traditional, that make listeners long to be on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, hearing these songs in person and maybe buying the band a round at the interval.

Songs include "Edinburgh Toon," "Nancy Whiskey," "It's Braw Sailing on the Sea," "Drinking with Rosie," "Goodbye to the Sea" and "All of the Hard Days are Gone." It's a good mix and makes for a lively, entertaining listening experience.

North Sea Gas has the reputation as one of Scotland's most popular folk bands, and it's a label they deserve. They're the real deal, and I hope they have another three decades to go, at least!

[ visit the artist online ]

review by
Tom Knapp

3 April 2010

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