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Dougie Mackenzie and friends give old folk history new life at Beaufort Hotel concert to launch album Along the Way

By Kyle Walker

REVIEW: Dougie Mackenzie with Brian Miller

The Beaufort Hotel, Inverness


A CONCERT 40 years in the making, there was something intangible yet undeniably special in the air for Dougie Mackenzie’s album launch.

For some it was a reunion of old friends – so many people here performing and watching the concert were veterans of the old Inverness Folk Club.

For others it was a chance to support an old and dear friend – with warm tributes pouring in for Dougie from performers throughout the night.

For myself, sat in the hotel’s function room, it was an education in folksong’s rich history – and what an education it was.

Drawing on the old Child Ballads to more contemporary material, every singer and musician on the bill brought their own turn and take on the material.

In particular, Jimmy Hutchison’s beautiful, trembling take on Lord Lovel, the macabre poetry of Dave Goulder’s Easter Tree, and Brian Miller’s wry, bawdy take on Adam McNaughtan’s song The Lion and The Glove proved magnificent highlights.

But this evening was about Dougie, whose two sets at the end of each half of the night’s show – joined by Brian on guitar – anchored the evening.

From Willie o’ Winsbury through to a cover of Dave Goulder’s own song January Man – in front of the man himself, no mean feat! – Dougie wielded his voice like a paintbrush.

The warmth of its tones and the strength of its timbre filling every inch of the hotel’s function room, conjuring up the worlds and stories he told.

And that warmth hung in the heart after his final song The Wild Rover had come to a close, and old friends talked and remembered and laughed together like the folk songs of old they so loved.

Along the Way by Dougie Mackenzie with Brian Miller is out now. Go to www.greentrax.com

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