John Murray on the debut album by Glasgow songwriter
Glasgow songwriter Rowan Ross has been trailing the folk and jazz clubs around the country for a few years now but this week releases his own album. Second Fiddle (Birnam), brings together some of his own songs collected along the way and long overdue. There will always be a violin in the mix as Rowan guests regularly on the music scene but with a fine production and timely backing vocals he shines in a full band format like on ‘Freezing’, a standout track. Peppered with instrumentals like ‘Eleanor Ross’ we hear traditional fiddle with subtle clarsach from Gillian Fleetwood or melodic ‘First Light’ with Louis Abbot from Admiral Fallow on marimba. His jazz influences shine too on ‘Liquid Diamond’ which gets quite raunchy with Konrad Wisznlewski on sax almost a Hot Club moment. Of course those Django and Grappelli 1930s references do not go unnoticed with Hot Club Of Cowtown on their new album Rendezvous In Rhythm (Proper). Recorded in Texas as a trio but touring worldwide they are not short on swing. The well balanced album hits with an old familiar at least on every other track and although they are from a bygone age you can still sing along strangely enough. Along the way the Django swing revives with ‘Minor Swing’ and ‘Douce Ambiance’. Touring with Roxy Music and getting lots of BBC exposure has helped the cult status of group who have two Scottish dates this weekend. Paul Anderson from Aberdeenshire can squeeze all emotions from his violin and as a teacher of the Scottish fiddle is held in high regard. There are 51 tunes on his new album Land Of The Standing Stones (Fingal), mainly originals but embracing reels, laments and marches.