Scotland's Battlefield Band plays music that fans of Celtic grace and energy will appreciate: graceful ballads and sprightly reels, elegiac airs and irresistible jigs, hornpipes and martial marches. It's the accent that's slightly different, plus Battlefield's subtle incorporation of electric keyboards. Not to worry, though: This is traditional music through and through.
Mixed in among tripled-up collections of reels and jigs (no band worth its salt does a single jig) are several outstanding cuts. "Lord Haddo's Favourite" is a heart- tugging, achingly lovely 18th-century air, with Alan Reid's brushed keyboards echoing a Celtic harp beneath Brian McNeill's melancholy fiddle, which is eventually joined by Ged Foley's Northumbrian pipes and a double-tracked viola line. "Shining Clear" is a charming Robert Louis Stevenson poem jauntily delivered with harmonic burrs; the few other vocals, including a new song of old conscriptions ("A Chance as Good as Any") and a haunting pair of mining plaints ("One Miner's Life/The Image of God") make one wish Battlefield would sing a bit more than it does. Then again, the band's toe-tapping insistence and high-spirited instrumentals make their case just as compelling. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM
BATTLEFIELD BAND -- There's a Buzz (Flying Fish FF299). THE SHOW
BATTLEFIELD BAND, Friday at 8 at Lee Recreation Center Auditorium, Alexandria.