Robert in Lockdown – 17.12.20

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The ink was barely dry on my recent article about Fergie MacDonald’s latest CD when the new Trail West album dropped through the letter box.

As I’ve never received anything for free from the lads before, I’ll take that as a hint that they’d like me to write one or two words about it!

In all seriousness, it is a tremendous album – a great blend of Highland tunes and Gaelic, Irish, and self-penned songs.

This is the band’s fourth studio album and is released to mark their 10th anniversary year. Like Mànran (who I wrote about previously), Trail West have had a 10th anniversary year with a difference – their planned celebratory gig in the Barrowlands having fallen foul of coronavirus restrictions. The event will now take place next year and will still be called Ten Years of Trail West – a title which led someone to comment: ‘Ten years of Trail West?! I think I can only manage a couple of hours of them!’

Joking aside, this album is 52 minutes of them – and I’m sure that 52 minutes of great music will sustain a lot of people through a Christmas period that is shaping up to be a lot quieter than usual.

Thankfully, lovers of Highland music are by no means short of stocking fillers this year and a few of them are from back home in Lochaber.

Sitting in my flat in Glasgow, I was already looking forward to getting home for Christmas; but the sounds coming from the Glenfinnan Cèilidh Band’s Instagram page of tracks from their latest album made me even more homesick!

Particular highlights were a clip of the band enjoying a Highland Schottische in the middle of the road which they suggested was a tradition that could be brought back – in line with the current restrictions!

Another great video was a cracking rendition of the cèilidh classic Buain A’ Rainich Taobh Loch Èite, playing as Iain MacFarlane made his carrot and coriander soup.

Another Lochaber stocking filler (if you’ve got a slightly bigger stocking) is Gary Innes’s new book to mark his 40th birthday.

The First Forty Years is a collection of tunes, stories, pictures, and plenty more nonsense, I’m sure, to keep you smiling throughout the Christmas period.

If you’re looking for something to look forward to in the New Year, Peat and Diesel have announced they will be releasing a live recording in January of their 2020 show in the Glasgow Barrowlands.

It’s nice to think that this release will start off the year with at least a record of live music – in the hope that the real thing will return in some capacity as the year progresses.

I dare say all the bands and musicians I have mentioned in this article will keep their fingers crossed for that.

I have run out of words this week! But there are many more Christmas releases that I haven’t mentioned so keep your eyes pealed and make sure you’re stocked up on music to see you into the New Year!