Red Knot
Reviews from the Atlanta Celtic Quarterly
Red Knot
Reviewed by Doug Murray.
PS: I recommend CDNow for on-line CD shopping. Great prices; excellent service.

Seven Nations: Live! Road Kill Volume 1
Neil Anderson (Highland and uillean bagpipes, Scottish smallpipes, tinwhistle and mandolin); Kirk McLeod (keyboards, Highland bagpipes); Ashton Patrick Geoghagan (drums and percussion) and Struby (bass guitar). 9 tracks, 58:51. MAC0998.
Order info
S even Nations is an outfit that tilts their brand of Celtic folk-rock decisively toward the rock side of the mix. The sound is anchored on the tight rhythm section of Ashton Patrick Geoghagan and Struby, whose solid, clean interplay propel most of the cuts with a danceable groove that doesn't interfere with the flow of Celtic touches provided by wind and reed man Neil Anderson. Anderson's pipes and whistles occupy the niche the lead guitar occupies in a conventional rock lineup, but the lines that he plays are as often originally composed or improvised as they are quotations of traditional tunes. This approach often works quite well, but occasionally wanders off into Never Land. Nevertheless, the improvisational element does add freshness and excitement.

There's some very nice piping and whistling, notably on "The Conundrum" and the rocking song/tune set "Big Dog/Trip to Pakistan". There are also some stellar moments (including a dual piping segment) in a "The Gravel Walk/Renwick's Ferret/Our Day Will Come/Clumsy Lover" marathon (along with a few meanders when the music loses focus). Kirk McLeod sings most of Seven Nations' strong collection of original songs as well as a couple of songs from other writers. A standout among these is Dominic Behan's "Crooked Jack", a bitter workingman's rewrite on "The Star of the County Down" melody. The band's playing suits the angry edge of the lyrics. They also give a fine reading of another powerful industrial song, "The Pound a Week Rise", sung by Anderson. Less effective is "Whiskey in the Jar", an over-familiar song which never transcends its Pogues-like stomp enough to be distinctive, and forgettable is a slow medley of "Scotland the Brave" and "Dixie".

Seven Nations bills Road Kill as a "warts and all" portrayal of their live shows. The energy of concert playing is certainly present, and I would view the main drawback as having not do with the playing, but rather a recorded sound lacking instrumental midrange on some cuts. While punchy, there's sometimes a feeling of a missing part. Seven Nations may not be to the taste of traditionalists, but if you like to rock they deliver the goods, and these live recordings would indicate that a good time was had by all.

Grade: B -- Doug Murray.

Site design by David Marcus © 1998

David Marcus  
More Reviews

The Atlanta Red Knot Celtic Quarterly