Fiddle player and artist Cady Finlayson has compiled an extensive collection of uplifting, traditionally rooted yet also world-music-inspired compositions for this latest album release, and the playlist in full makes for a bright and organic backdrop to your day.
Celtic Purple brings together soulful performances with engaging melodies and an array of musically warm soundscapes, each with a fairly raw and intimate presentation style, giving off the sense that Cady and the band are playing right there in the room with you; something that increasingly appeals as the album progresses.
From the title track through Beltaine the mood and the details vary already, just slightly – the latter takes you down a Celtic pathway, complete with a unique rhythm section and a central riff that’s quickly memorable. Slane afterwards offers a mildly melancholic break from the high energy, mellowing things out and leading with melodic story-telling that reaches straight for the heart. This eclecticism continues throughout, Cady Finlayson is not merely a musician, but a creative with a clear desire to express certain feelings and to offer deeply emotive, thoughtful ambiances.
Jock O’Hazeldean is an early highlight, the embrace of the lower string section comforts as the traditional Irish twang of the main melody creates a cinematic and beautiful journey on top of it. Farewell To Erin afterwards utilizes contrast perfectly well and immediately picks up the pace to a foot-stomping degree.
Arrangement is crucial within an album of nineteen tracks, and Cady has mastered it – softer compositions like McPherson’s Lament hit with quiet impact thanks to their placement amidst surrounding songs of energy and brightness. New Moon March subsequently re-injects the rhythm and movement, creating a marching aura and offering yet another highlight – an immersive and powerful, multi-layered instrumental that’s energizing, motivational, and quite addictive to listen to at volume.
The titles of these compositions fuse well with the emotions within – given that these are the only guiding factors in a predominantly lyric-less setting, the experience is left to the listener to fill in any gaps. In most cases, Cady leads with a fine balance between history and optimism, story-telling and the self, and this works well to provide a widely accessible collection.
Cumbernaul is a latter half highlight, there’s a certain acoustic delicacy to the whole thing, and the melody weaves out and around you in a rather blissful manner. May The Road Rise To Meet You follows and offers up the project’s first sung performance – a gentle folk track with a poetic backbone. Afterwards there seems to be a series of stories and moments that provoke a slightly deeper level of thought – spacious and reflective compositions that utilize just a few different elements to create specific and considerate moods.
At the penultimate moment, En Marche relights the rhythm and drives with an acoustic shuffle and a pair of melodies that dance together beautifully. Then you get the traditional and emotionally loaded rise up to musical fullness with the rather epic and multi-instrumental tones of When The Battle Is Over.
The album is incredibly impressive from a musical perspective, but it’s also vastly enjoyable emotionally – Cady Finlayson clearly leads with an inherent love for music and creative expression, and that authenticity shines brightly throughout Celtic Purple.