Alan Reid

Under the Blue

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It might seem odd that an acclaimed performer would give up a career in front of the audience to be somebody else's engineer, but that's exactly what Rob Van Sante did. After years of running sound for the Battlefield Band he came back to center stage on this album. Under the Blue is a partnership with Alan Reid, for whom who he had been adjusting sound levels for years. The two men work together flawlessly, and though Reid wrote most of the material and is the dominant voice, Van Sante makes important contributions throughout the disc. This is most obvious in the instrumentals, but it's also the case everywhere -- listen to the sympathetic backup on "54 Winters," a story of an old man who had a moment of glory in his youth and has talked about it ever since. The song could have easily been overpowered by a full arrangement, but Reid and Van Sante get it exactly right. The same spare style elegantly fits "Across the Water," a wonderfully poetic song about daring to hope for peace in Northern Ireland. Elsewhere on Under the Blue, there are more complex arrangements, but they're always done in a way that complements Reid's vocals. For those who have only heard Alan Reid with the Battlefield Band, this and his solo album, The Sunlit Eye, are a revelation. Under the Blue may be difficult to find outside Scotland, but it is well worth hinting for -- if you can't find it anywhere else, it is available from the label online at http://www.reidvansante.com.

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