Under the Counter
Mad River 1010

Members of the Scottish band Bodega—not to confused with two other bands bearing the same name—are only in their early twenties, but just four years out from winning the BBC 2005 Young Folk Award they’re already playing like vets. Many Celtic bands anchor melodies with accordion and fiddle, but Bodega give the combo more color and musical tension by having fiddler Ross Couper play edgy contrast to Norrie MacIver’s swingy squeeze box. On occasion, Gillian Chalmers puts down her pipes and whistles and plays second fiddle to MacIver, which gives Bodega’s music unexpected twists. The opening “Inward Chimney” set, for instance, opens with a jazzy little tune penned by guitarist Tia Files, segues to a duel-fiddle-fueled Shetland mariner’s tune as it would have never been played at sea, and rounds out with a Quebeçois stomper. Or how about Bodega’s version of “The Stamping Ground,” a song popularized by Runrig? Bodega forego rock and roll for a folk treatment that sets the mood for MacIver’s vocal with June Naylor’s harp notes bouncing off djembe beats. Bodega pay careful attention to pace changes and it pays glorious dividends. In succession we are treated to “Puirt,” a bit of tongue-twisting Gaelic mouth music; “Helyinagro,” a dreamy musing on the Shetlands; “Balaich an Iasgaich,” a Gaelic fishing/crofting song sung in dancing celidh cadences; and “Missing Tramp,” a classic Celtic big set with muscular guitar from Files, MacIver’s bold accordion, Naylor attacking her harp, Couper’s aggressive fiddle, and Chalmers stepping out on fiddle and pipes. Under the counter? How about on the beam?--LV
Check out their cool cover of Bob Dylan's Wagon Wheel.

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