Review by Les Ray
I selected this fine album by Northumbrian duo The Brothers Gillespie as one of my favourites of 2019 (although technically it was released at the end of 2018). It is an absolute joy, particularly on account of what Sam Lee refers to as “the glorious tones of their blood harmony”: sibling voices totally in synch, singing passionately.
Their words and music are very much rooted in the land, the mystical borderlands of their native Northumberland, as is particularly evident in the tracks Golden One, Coventina’s Daughter and Wilderness & Wild, with its Yeatsian resonances (“Come back child...”). As the brothers themselves say: “The album is inspired by the still wild soul of the land in which we live, a land alive with presences, not owned by anyone”.
As if their moving harmony vocals were not enough, the musicianship of brothers James and Sam is consummate, always enhancing and never cluttered. There is also some exquisite clàrsach harp playing by Siannie Moodie on Golden One and Northumberland (which also has fine percussion by Tim Lane).