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Land of Light

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Album Review

After a brief experiment with electric instruments, the Tannies returned to a primarily acoustic approach on this album. As always, it's the singing that sets them apart most decisively from the competition: songs like "The Scottish Settler's Lament," "The Rovin' Heilandman" and the album's title track practically shimmer with the band's dense harmonies. Enjoyment of the instrumentals will hinge mainly on one's appreciation for the highland pipes, which are generally the core of the sound, though Phil Smillie's flute and whistle playing are also frequently out in front. Bandleader Roy Gullane is a fine songwriter, and contributes both the title track and "Bustles and Bows," a song decrying the whaling industry.


Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Tannahill Weavers, who started as a band in the late '60s, occupy a unique position among the groups on the Scottish folk scene. Stalwarts Roy Gullane and Phil Smillie have surrounded themselves with a rotating cast of great musicians. Their music, which uses the Highland bagpipe, flute, and fiddle as its melodic core, is tighter, more intense, and harder-driven than the Battlefield Band, Silly Wizard, or their other contemporaries. Despite their mostly acoustic sound, they're the closest thing...
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