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SESSION A9 - What Road? Raj Records CD002

Every so often, and not all that often, the humdrum workaday life of a reviewer can suddenly be dragged out of its complacency, when a CD arrives from a group you haven't heard of, you stick it into the player and immediately the wow factor hits you, and you realise the world is a better place than it just was. This is one of those releases.

The band comprises Duncan Chisholm, Kris Drever, Tim Edey, Gordon Gunn, Brian McAlpine, Charlie McKerron and Adam Sutherland, so there was never going to be much question about quality, was there? Centring on the vibrant fiddle traditions of Scotland, but with global influences, this album has the good-time feel of a session rather than the arid feel of a studio recording, so top marks to all the production team for that.

The selections are all inspired, with a heavy slant towards contemporary compositions and a few traditional numbers. Personal favourites are Leire's Welcome To Cozac / Fiona Macaskill of Breakish and The Aird Ranters / Inshrioch, but that almost seems a tad unfair to the other eleven tracks not to give them a mention, too.

In addition to all the tunes, Kris Drever adds his distinctive voice, including a jaunty version of Shady Grove. Definitely something for everyone here, even to the extent that I played this to a distinctly non-folkie acquaintance who immediately asked to borrow the CD!

Given all their other band commitments, I don't know if Session A9 have any public appearances coming up soon, but if they do, be there, and be prepared to be gob smacked.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 53 of The Living Tradition magazine.