TRISTAN MACKAY Wire And Wood

Battered Hat Records

TRISTAN MACKAY Wire And Wood

Having seen Tristan MacKay as support act for Eric Johnson last year, this was an album I was wanting to listen to. Live, he played electric guitar and pedals, but here the songs on this crowd-funded release are acoustic, with full band backing. Although he is using musicians of the calibre of Drummer Peter Van Hooke, and the keyboard players Don Airey, and Ricky Peterson, it is MacKay’s soulful playing, singing and sensitive song writing that receives most of the limelight.

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The songs on Wire and Wood are tone poems, and delicate, so there is no grandstanding or flashy soloing, so songs such as the title track are soft songs about the comfort that music can provide, or a love song to his daughter in Lullaby for Layla. Where the pace lifts a little, it is in the bluesier songs, such as Two Of A kind, or This Old Heart, where a Celtic spirit infuses the song, particularly during Ricky Peterson’s Hammond B3 Organ solo.

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The songs on the album though, that leave the most impact are the slow, mournful torch songs such as The Wine And Me, or A Kind Of Blue. Tristan Mackay is a talented songwriter, and this album is worth spending some time with.

BEN MACNAIR