When a trio is made up of three musicians you know to be capable of leading their own bands you do sometimes wonder at the wisdom of bringing them all together, then you hear an album like this and wonder if they weren’t touched by Athena. Rachel Hair, naturally, Jenn Butterworth and Euan Burton should be congratulated on the way they’ve put “No More Wings” together
Three very different string instruments, harp, guitar and bass, are brought together for an album of life and vitality, where egos are the door and musicianship invited in to spend some time in the snug to warm by the fire. This is an album full of pleasant surprises and sprightly twists. Predominantly instrumental albums have a habit of doing that to you.
The first sprightly twist comes in with “Swedish” an instrumental set that draws upon a couple of tunes from Gotland that celebrates the continuing links between Scotland and it’s Scandinavian neighbours across the sea. The first real surprise comes with the next track, “Grey Funnel Line”, one of the few vocal tracks on the album and a fascinating cover of mariner, Cyril Tawney’s “Grey Funnel Line”, totally unexpected and wonderfully re-imagined.
Where vocals make their way onto the album, they are eloquently supplied by Jenn Butterworth, who also penned a couple of songs on the album. Rachel Hair is by far the biggest contributor of material, though as you would anticipate there are a number of new arrangements of traditional tunes.
Predominantly instrumental artists tend to be more generous with their tunes often dedicating them to friends and events in their lives and that’s the case here. In the final set of tunes, “The Birthday Jigs”, the last jig, “The Birthday Cow” was written for fellow musician Joy Dunlop, whose brother bought a pregnant cow instead of a present for his sister. Siblings beware tunes have a long life and are a revenge neatly served.
Another tune in that set “Folkus” celebrates the ability of a certain car to be able to carry a trio of musicians, all of their instruments, p.a., merch and suitcases, Ford take note.
“No More Wings” is a highly enjoyable and entertaining album. It has a spring in its step and seems to bring light into the room. The Rachel Hair Trio seem to be a cup running over with talent. Great Fun.
Neil King, Fatea