Maclaine Colston and Saul Rose’s début album could be called an odd affair, containing as it does recordings over 10 years apart. The decision to include their earlier recorded material with new tracks is, however, a triumph, and the album feels both coherent and accomplished.
The hammered dulcimer is not an instrument I have ever paid much attention to, or that has been at the fore of the music I listen to, so I was intrigued to hear how it would sound in prominence with the melodeon of Saul Rose. As I discovered, it is an enchanting instrument that, to me, sits somewhere between a harp, a piano and a guitar. The instruments, and Mac and Saul’s voices, compliment each other as they travel over a wide range of topics and influences.
My stand out tracks from the album are, perhaps predictably from someone who enjoys the humorous stories in folk, ’The Lazy Farmer’ and ’The Devil and the Feathery Wife’. Both are performed with gusto from two gents who are obviously relishing the stories and vocabularies involved!
I was also taken aback by two tracks that feature guest vocalists. ’British Man O’War’ is sung by Mark Colgan (Mac’s father), and is a gorgeous sea shanty of love and the sea. The other track is ’Don’t You Go’ which I must confess I disliked when I first heard it. But, it seems context is everything, as the information in the sleeve notes completely transformed how I approached the song, and now I find it both beautiful and haunting, with Teph Kay’s vocal imploringly delivered. A poignant pause in an album which drives forward with passion.