Splinters & Candy Review Seinn

If you listen to Splinters & Candy on WVKR, then you’ve heard me play some tracks from Mary Jane Lamond & Wendy MacIsaac’s latest release, Seinn. The duo have put together a terrific acoustic Celtic album from the shores of Cape Breton. Mary Jane Lamond is an accomplished singer with a deep appreciation for Scottish Gaelic traditions. Wendy MacIsaac is highly regarded for her fiddle and piano playing as well as her step dancing. The pair have been impressing audiences worldwide for over two decades. Their comradery shines on Seinn, a record that deserves a lot of attention for being a fresh, yet timeless traditional Celtic release.

The musicianship on Seinn is outstanding. Mary Jane and Wendy sound like they have been playing together since they were children. From the rollicking “Yellow Coat” to the reflective “If You Were Mine,” Mary Jane and Wendy take you on a journey through the history of Cape Breton where the heritage of the Highland settlers has been kept alive by the passing down of music, songs and stories over the years. While this is a traditional release that doesn’t mean it sounds like something you’ve heard before. Some songs may have been chosen from existing repertoires, but they’ve never been performed quite like this.

Full of passion and energy, these tunes come to life in a way that is inspiring. When I hear cuts like “Keeping Up With Calum” or “Angus Blaise,” I can’t help but feel my pulse quicken as my foot starts to tap automatically. This music is full of heart and you can hear what it means to Mary Jane and Wendy on every track. Wendy’s fiddling is tremendous and she also plays mandolin and some piano on the album. Mary Jane’s voice is in top form, singing in Gaelic throughout the record. She also plays accordion on a few tracks. There are plenty of guests on this CD but a special mention should go to Seph Peters whose driving guitar and banjo provides the perfect foundation for Mary Jane and Wendy to build their harmonies on top of.

Mary Jane Lamond and Wendy MacIsaac are preservers of tradition who are keeping roots music alive while interpreting the music in their own way. Listen to “Yellow Coat” and take a look at a great video the duo put together to celebrate the release of Seinn. Ask for the CD at your local record store or check it out at bandcamp and keep an eye on Mary Jane and Wendy’s live dates to see where they will be performing next.

by Alex Brown, Splinters & Candy