Country and folk tunes a family affair

Meridian to Here by May, Mackie & Rhonda. CD produced by Phillip Anderson at Storm Sound Studios Kirkwall on the NEL music label at £12.99

THIS new 12-track release from May, Mackie and Rhonda is a fine mix of country and folk music, well picked songs with contemporary covers, older country, folk songs and self-penned numbers.

May’s singing just gets better as the years go on. She interprets the country numbers and the folk songs with ease, seamlessly moving between styles. Like her dad, the late Thomas Fraser, she possesses the ability to put her own stamp on the songs. I feel her performances on this album are some of the best she has recorded so far.

Rhonda, daughter of May, also sings in a variety of styles, all performed with a fresh and upbeat approach. Despite the fact that she is but a young slip of a girl, she has a great maturity in her singing. I particularly enjoyed her interpretation of Kate Rusby’s The Lark.

Mackie sings the lead on his own compositions; these three tracks, which include Midnight in Meridian, deserve a mention. All are well written and performed with a real depth of feeling.

The fact that Mackie is a great singer and guitar player sometimes overshadows the fact that he is also a great writer. He shows an ability to compose powerful songs in the traditional American country style – no mean feat for a boy born on this side of the pond.

Enhanced by session musicians from Shetland, Orkney and as far afield as Nashville, the quality of the recording and production is world class. Overall the album is a real gem, vocally strong and instrumentally superb. Whether you like country or folk this album us worth a listen. If, like me, you enjoy both types of music, it is a must.

Brian Nicholson

  • The CD is on sale at High Level Music, Clive’s Record Shop and R W Bayes and is available from band members.

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