You are hereAlbum Review: Ewan McLennan - The Last Bird to Sing (Fellside)
Album Review: Ewan McLennan - The Last Bird to Sing (Fellside)
Ewan McLennan returns with this his second album on Fellside, THE LAST BIRD TO SING, the title of which refers to one of the three McLennan originals included. Once again McLennan explores traditional Scottish ballads such as the transportation song Jamie Raeburn and the melancholic Lichtbob's Lassie, with each song demonstrating a precise guitar technique and an unmistakably original voice. The well-deserved Horizon Award nomination and subsequent win at the 2011 BBC Folk Awards further revealed McLennan's credentials as a key player on the current folk scene, a singer and musician admired by critics and fans alike.
McLennan's original songs come over as confident and mature, with an acknowledgement to the tradition; it being virtually impossible to differentiate between the songs that are new and the ones that are much older. Whilst the true tale of Joe Glenton comes over as a modern day conscientious objector protest song, the title song is a tender ballad chronicling the hardships of factory closures and survival. The album also features a couple of instrumentals, Reeling and Staggering/Napoleon Crossing the Alps and The Lass of Aughrim/Ae Fond Kiss, each demonstrating a confident approach to finger-style guitar playing.
Co-produced by McLennan and Fellside's Paul Adams, the album also features contributions from John McCusker on fiddle and Martin Simpson on slide guitar, together with Karine Polwart who provides some harmony singing on the opening song, Matt McGinn's Rolling Hills of the Borders.