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Hello, Goodbye


Artist: John McCusker
Label: Under One Sky Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 29 April 2016

In celebration of his 25th Anniversary as a professional musician, John McCusker releases Hello, Goodbye, his first solo album in thirteen years, and the first on his new record label Under One Sky Records...

Hello, Goodbye was composed while John McCusker was on a world tour with Mark Knopfler. The core musical group for the album is an all-star cast of handpicked musicians with whom McCusker has been fortunate to work over the past 25 years: James Mackintosh, Drums/Percussion (Shooglenifty, The Blue Nile, James); Ewen Vernal, Bass (Deacon Blue, Capercaille); Ian Carr, Guitar (Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, Swap); Michael McGoldrick, Whistle (Mark Knopfler, Capercaille, Sharon Shannon); Andy Cutting, Melodeon (The Who, June Tabor); Tim O’brien (Grammy Award Winning US bluegrass star); Phil Cunningham MBE, Accordion (Bonnie Raitt, Nicola Benedetti) and acclaimed Irish singer Heidi Talbot.

Traditional music from anywhere in the World can, I find, become a little twee a little too quickly. John McCusker takes the essence of traditional Scottish songs, smashes them to pieces with a hammer and lovingly crafts something timeless that can be embraced by all.

The end results speak for themselves. This is a heart wrenchingly beautiful album that comes deep from within McCusker's soul and is guaranteed to touch even the coldest of hearts.

The LP contains 12 instrumental tracks (1 hr, 02 min, 31 sec) with personal highlights including 'Calendar Boys'; 'The Wedding'; 'Foofoo'; 'A Trip to Roma'; 'Tune for Nana'; and the closer, 'Under One Sky', that leaves you wanting more.

This is an impressive album that those that don't normally enjoy traditional music should check out. While I'd argue that McCusker, and his particular brand of music is best when heard live, Hello, Goodbye is a lovingly intimate love letter to his roots and his fans.


Nick Smithson

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