Want to read more?
At the start of the pandemic in March we took the decision to make online access to our news free of charge by taking down our paywall. At a time where accurate information about Covid-19 was vital to our community, this was the right decision – even though it meant a drop in our income. In order to help safeguard the future of our journalism, the time has now come to reinstate our paywall, However, rest assured that access to all Covid related news will still remain free.
To access all other news will require a subscription, as it did pre-pandemic. The good news is that for the whole of December we will be running a special discounted offer to get 3 months access for the price of one month. Thank you for supporting us during this incredibly challenging time.
We value our content and access to our full site is only available with a subscription. Your subscription entitles you to 7-day-a-week access to our website, plus a full digital copy of that week’s paper to read on your pc/mac or mobile device. In addition, your subscription includes access to digital archive copies from 2006 onwards.
Just want to read one issue? No problem you can subscribe for just one week (or longer if you wish).
Whether it is Arisaig Boogie, The Devil Came Down to Glenuig, Metal Midges or his Americana-vibed homage to the Hogwarts Express, multi-instrumentalist, Steve Brown, has certainly covered all the musical bases on his debut album.
The tracks on the Arisaig resident’s Cosmic Ceilidh album were written over a six- year period, and inspired by friends, family and life in the Highlands – and recorded by Steve in his own Rivendell Studio in the Lochaber seashore village.
Steve told us: ‘It’s a game of three halves. Stylistically this is really two or three albums in one. After a lot of thought I decided to place all of these styles into the one sonic basket and hope the journey makes sense to some!
‘The mellow solo acoustic guitar tracks give some respite from the full band melees and the electric guitar tunes lend some contrast to the main mandolin wonderments.’
On this album, Steve plays mandolin, guitars, bass, piano, accordion and programmed drum loops.
Other musicians include John Whyte of Glenfinnan on trombone, Pete Harbidge of New Zealand on cornet and Eoin de Paor of Westmorland on fiddle, whistle, flute and bass.
By the wonders of modern production loops, three tracks also feature drums by Neil Peart, the recently deceased percussionist from Canadian band, Rush.
Steve is a massive Rush fan – he organises an annual Rush fan convention which has so far raised more than £50,000 for cancer charities – and astute listeners may spot familiar themes.
Originally from Stirling, he has lived in Arisaig for 20 years, absorbing many a session run by local folk legends, Eilidh Shaw and Ross Martin, in the Arisaig Bar.
Witnessing the mighty Shooglenifty live in Glenuig Hall was also a life-changer, he revealed, adding that the band’s original mandolin player, Iain MacLeod was hugely influential in inspiring Steve to pick up the beautiful instrument himself.
Ideally this album should be listened to in the running order presented. Some musical themes are hinted at then expanded later, plus the busier tracks are broken up with the more mellow solo acoustic pieces.
It has been noted that this album may contain too many differing styles, however, Steve says this became deliberate since it summed up his versatility and, dare it be said, saw him breaking the rules of genre.
‘Even though this album has been produced over a few years, it has really come together during lockdown,’ Steve continued.
‘Not only has lockdown given me the time to finish it, but the mixed styles represent the gamut of emotions experienced during this dry period of not being able to gig.’
Cosmic Ceilidh is available to buy direct from www.broon.net as well as from www.broon.bandcamp.com