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KINNELL - "Donald's Dog" - KRL CDLDL1290

This CD was a very pleasant surprise - a new group from Glasgow with a lovely fresh approach to traditional tunes. Their repertoire is half Scottish plus a large helping of Irish, garnished with tunes from all over Europe. The fiddle of Gavin Pennycook and flute of Frances Morton are not unknown on either side of the Irish sea: they have both won junior All Ireland titles, and have appeared with Tannas and Deaf Shepherd amongst others. Bouzoukist Tony Campbell completes the trio, an Irish musician with a varied and murky past.

Kinnell produce a light, lilting tone with the emphasis on melody. It's a young person's sound: there's more fun than fire in the playing. I've never heard such an airy treatment of "Dolina McKay" before, but on the other hand the set of jigs including "Bill Harte's" and "The Duck" is beautifully balanced and perfectly paced. After six tracks we get a slow air, the only one on the CD, nicely played by Frances, and then it's back to the quicker stuff.

Despite their youthful vigour, Kinnell manage not to rush things. There aren't many slow moments, but "Donald's Dog" isn't a rabid beast either. The tracks are varied and entertaining, and with the exception of a rather bland version of "The Haughs of Cromdale" Kinnell keep the momentum going. The whole album builds to a satisfying conclusion with the title track (not a hint of The Sex Pistols) followed by a set of great reels. All in all, a very enjoyable 53 minutes.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 35 of The Living Tradition magazine.