Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 4/5
Allison, Singer, Flautist from Ontario Canada is a self styled Celtic folk musician and performer. Words of Love, her fourth solo album is a rich mix of Celtic traditional music, American or Canadian Folk and Bluegrass. For this album Allison leads an all star International band including the amazing Andrew Collins on mandolin, Tony McManus on guitar and Ivan Rosenberg on dobro. “Away” opens with Allison’s soaring voice and Tony’s nimbly strummed guitar. Shane Cook’s very Irish sounding fiddle and Lupton’s own flute and Whistles ensure that this fine track, like much of the album, has a foot on both sides if the Atlantic. “What Will I Dream” a song by Lupton reflecting on Canada’s place in the world, with Andrew’s insistent mandolin, the slippery dobro and Lupton’s pure voice put me in mind of the best of Crooked Still and their spry modern Bluegrass. “When First I Went To Caledonia” contrasts McManus’ atmospheric guitar and some powerful Double Bass from Joseph Phillips. Lupton shines through with her singing on this migrants song and her sublime playing too.
“Words Of Love” another Lupton feel good song is a delight with its lush chorus and another top class vocal from Lupton. “Lost Jimmy Whelan” is a traditional lament for a dead lover. The bowed Double Bass introduction, Allison’s singing and the eerie fiddle notes are very atmospheric, real hairs on the back of the neck stuff. Proper Psych Folk. “Ontario Tune Set” is an opportunity for the cracking musicianship of the band to show through as Allison, Shane and others fly gracefully through a set of tunes. It maybe an Ontario set, but what I guess is Tony’s guitar carries through the percussive sense of the bodhran. “Dusty Boots” is another atmospheric song with the band building up an eerie atmosphere of Americana and Celtic sounds behind Allison’s vocal. The chorus is a perfect marriage of Bluegrass’ tight harmonies and the lush group vocals of Clan as with this track being for me one of the album highlights. “Poverty Knock” is a, West Yorkshire Weavers song Alison learnt from Pete Coe. Lupton’s blends the evocative chorus with some lively Bluegrass Mandolin Guitar and Dobro. The lyric may be dark but the band’s playing on this and “I Will Rise” is bright and lively. “The Grand River Waltz” is a stately, graceful glide of an instrumental, reflecting on Allison’s daily watching of the river on its journey to Lake Erie. This is a beautiful and reflective end to a bright, lively and atmospheric album.
Choice Track: “Words of Love” (NSV 490)