Four beautifully arranged and beautifully photographed violins grace the cover of the latest Blazin’ Fiddles album SIX, which could either be a reference to the fact that this is the band’s sixth release to date or perhaps to the fact that there are six members in the band. Taking the traditional music of the Highlands and islands as their starting point, Blazin’ Fiddles play each set of tunes with authority, vigour and not least, a palpable sense of fun. Scottish fiddle music is one of the few genres of music where you feel there’s just as much fun being had whether there’s an audience around or not. It’s there in the interaction between the instruments but also in the eyes of the players and the frequent smiles of acknowledgement during those special moments when it all works out so perfectly well.
The four fiddle players who form the front line of this outfit, Allan Henderson, Bruce MacGregor, Iain MacFarlane and Jenna Reid, share an understanding of the music with the ability to shape it into an instantly accessible and cohesive whole, drawing from the traditions of the Highlands and surrounding islands, Ireland, Cape Breton, Scandinavia, Bulgaria and Quebec. Anna Massie and Angus Lyon complete the line up on guitar and piano respectively, with Anna throwing in a bit of additional fiddle to boot. Highly inventive in places, the contemporary arrangements maintain a traditional feel, largely due to the prominent role of the piano, especially on the opening set The Lads Like Beer and Colgrave Soond, which bring to mind Andy Stewart’s Scotch Corner-era country dances.
Sadly, since recording this album, Allan Henderson and Iain MacFarlane have left the band and have been replaced by two other outstanding musicians, Rua Macmillan and Kristan Harvey, who join the ranks of what is steadily being recognised as one of the most important and hottest contemporary folk music bands in Scotland today.