Trail West – From the Sea to the City

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 3/5

Trail West are a six piece from Glasgow. From the Sea to the City refers to the journey that many Gaels make, at some point in their life, moving from their homes by the sea to the city, relocating for education or for work. The journey opens with “Bernies Second Debut” a great mix of sensitive power ballad piano, pipes and whistles underpinned by Andrew Findlater’s powerful drum rhythms. “McAlpine’s Fusiliers”, made famous by Ronnie Drew and The Dubliners, words written by Dominic Began, is a modern folk classic, sardonically recounting the post war life of the Irish Navvy, industrial migrants underpinning the construction industry. Trail West’s version marries some of The Pogues’ punk energy and the pumping rhythm of industrial machinery. Simply beautiful are the Gaelic vocal numbers, “Mo Ghruagach Dhonn” and “Oran An T-Saighdeir”, there is something atmospheric and hypnotic about Seonaidh Maciintyre’s vocals especially when is he joined by Lucy Doogan. “Take Me Home” is an anthemic love song written by Macintyre. “Mary K’s Waltz” is a beautiful tune written by Malcolm Jones who played on Trail West’s last album. The piano playing on this track and Box and Whistle is tasteful nodding to sensitive classical or drum less jazz as much as Scots traditional music. More firmly in the Scots tradition for dance is “The Tayvallich Turkey” with the band playing infectious fast and furious accordion, pipes and whistle tunes. “Mo Dhuthaich” is a tune by Hector Murray, Trail West impart it with great emotion and potent, the stirring keys and Allan J Nairn’s electric guitar with the burr and sustain of bagpipes. Again the piano delivers some surprises with some fine musicianship and flourishes by Jonathan Gillespie against the drumming of Andrew Findlater’s. A strong closer on a strong, engaging and often surprising album that manages to be as interesting a journey as the title and cover imagery suggests.