The Battlefield Band

Time and Tide

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And once more there are personnel changes in the Battlefield Band, which takes on a new incarnation, proving that the name is bigger than any of the players. Former guitarist Pat Kilbride is welcomed back to the fold after a long absence, but surprisingly, he's not the biggest surprise here -- that title belongs to fiddler Alasdair White, who has big shoes to fill in replacing John McCusker. He does a phenomenal job, penning the title cut, which offers impressions of his native Isle of Lewis, and insinuating himself comfortably into the band while still bringing plenty of little quirks and playing that ranges easily from wonderfully melodic to fiery. As always, though, it's Alan Reid who's the linchpin of it all, his vocals framing the aching "Nancy's Whiskey," the tale of a man torn between a love for a woman and alcohol, and "The Bonnie Jeannie Deans," his memory of the old steamboats that plied the Clyde. In fact, it's the slower songs that make the greatest impact, although Kilbride gives a kick to faster material like "Whiskey From the Field." They're different but the same, older and wiser, and fast becoming a force of nature.

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