Tam Lin,
Back on the Road Again
(Mad Nanny, 2001)

The ballad of Tam Lin is fairly well known. Headstrong young Janet meets Tam Lin, the knight enchanted by the fairy queen, they become lovers and she gets pregnant. She must then rescue Tam Lin from the fairies on Halloween, which she does handily.

The band Tam Lin is much less well known, at least, on this side of the Atlantic, though they have toured extensively in the UK. Tam Lin is a trio whose members are Alan Hewson (vocals and percussion), Sava Malbaski (vocals, flute, whistles and guitar) and James McGee (violin). Back on the Road Again is their second CD.

Much of the music on this CD is traditional, beginning with "Flowers of Edinburgh/Jean's Reel," which shows off McGee's nimble fingers. Next up is a lovely rendition of "She Moved Through the Fair." Malbaski's haunting flute drops away at the end of phrases, giving the song just the right ghostly touch. Malbaski's skillful flute playing is also showcased in "Brian Boru's March" -- one of my favorite tunes. Other tunes, including "Arthur McBride" and "Coal Town Days," let Hewson exercise his warm, deep voice, which is perfect for traditional music; he sounds like he should be singing in the kitchen with his nearest friends and neighbors.

Back on the Road Again is a solid entry into the field of traditional music and I'm sure that we will be hearing from Tam Lin again.

[ by Laurie Thayer ]
Rambles: 1 December 2001