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Windward Away

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Album Review

Veteran Scottish folksinger Archie Fisher signed to American folk label Red House Records in the mid-'90s, but it took him until 2008 to complete and release Windward Away. The album is a collection of ballads in which Fisher plays gentle, circular fingerpicking patterns on his acoustic guitar, over which he sings in a soothing low tenor somewhat reminiscent of Roger Whitaker and Gordon Lightfoot. The themes concern rural and seagoing issues, but the music does not have an overtly Celtic feel. It is all of a piece, with one song after another sounding essentially similar, which some listeners will find calming, but others may find enervating. During the long run-up to the album, Fisher was contacted by a studio where he had worked on an aborted album in the 1970s and received a set of master recordings from the sessions. He adds eight of them to the 11 new recordings for an appendix he calls "The Missing Master" (tracks 12-19). As well as sounding considerably younger on the tracks, he also provides more musical variety with folk-pop arrangements of traditional songs and some originals that turned up on later albums. It was a good idea to include this material with the formal Windward Away tracks, since it livens things up, at least a little.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Although Archie Fisher is a legendary figure in the Scottish folk music world -- everybody's favorite singer and an enormously influential presence both musically and philosophically -- he has remained largely unknown to the greater pop music mainstream. While the mainstream's a poorer place for that, one gets the idea it suits Archie Fisher just fine. Fisher was born into a family of semi-professional musicians and learned to play the guitar at a young age. Fisher and his sister Ray formed a skiffle...
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Windward Away, Archie Fisher
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