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The Band
NEW CD album
skyhook - at the stringsmith's forge

debut CD album
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The first album was recorded by Joe Rusby at Pure Studios and was released in 2008. The 12 tracks, totalling approximately 52 minutes, are all favourite tunes and songs from our live set. We've kept the album true to our live arrangements, with the addition of Mike Fleming (of The Dizzy Club) playing double bass on three of the tracks and Martin playing piano on one.

1. The Honest Woman of Many Trades / McIllhatton’s Retreat / Ciarán Tourish
P. Cranford / M. O'Keefe/ J. Holland & D. MacDonald arr. skyhook
Cath & Martin: fiddles, Eoin: guitar
Paul Cranford is a lighthouse keeper, fiddler, composer and publisher in Cape Breton. Maire tells us she wrote McIllhatton’s Retreat for John McIllhatton of Belfast. We’re still wondering if he became a hermit or lost his nerve. Ciarán Tourish was written for Altan’s mighty fiddle player.

2. Wedding at the Mill / The Trippers
C. James / trad. arr. skyhook
Cath & Martin: fiddles, Eoin: guitar, Mike: double bass
A tune for Steve and Donna, Cath’s brother and his wife, who got married in a converted mill in Hampshire in 2001, followed by a setting of an old Scottish jig which is popular in Cape Breton.

3. Arthur McBride
Trad. arr. skyhook
Eoin: vocals & guitar, Martin: bouzouki, Cath: fiddle
Eoin sings his own reworking of a classic song about a punch up with the press gang. It’s a fantastic romp of a song learnt by osmosis over many years. The fiddle tune is “Our walk in the morning” written by Cath.
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4. Cronkers / Willie Joe’s / Moose Corner
C. James / J. Holland / C. James arr. skyhook
Cath & Martin: fiddles, Eoin: guitar
A cronker is a raven. Moose Corner was written after a near catastrophic encounter at night with a moose on a campsite in Cape Breton. Willie Joe’s is by Jerry Holland, a great influence on so many fiddle players and composers, including ourselves.
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5. Away Again / Memories of Father Angus McConnell / Post-it jig
C. James/ M. MacDougall/ C. James arr. skyhook
Cath: fiddle, Eoin: guitar, Martin: guitar, fiddle
A poignant slow air, followed by Mike MacDougall’s well-loved march, which Martin learned from the playing of Mairi Campbell. The Post-it jig came to Cath when there was no manuscript paper to hand.
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6. A Rùm Fuar / Cup of Tea / The Shetland Fiddler
C. James/ trad. / trad. arr. skyhook
Cath & Martin: fiddles, Eoin: guitar, Mike: double bass
A Rùm Fuar (The Cold Room) is in Martin and Cath’s favourite bothy in a particularly beautiful corner of the Western Highlands. The Cup of Tea is an Irish classic, and The Shetland Fiddler is a Donegal reel closely related to The Hawk by fiddler James Hill.
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7. The Father's song
E. MacColl arr. skyhook
Eoin: vocals & guitar, Martin: piano, fiddle, Cath: viola
Perhaps only Ewan MacColl could write a lullaby about the dangers of corporate greed and get away with it! We think it is one of his very best songs. Eoin started singing it ‘with conviction’ around the time his son Finlay was born in 1996.
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8. Beardy Face / Green grow the rushes / The Flail / Turbo Duck
C. James / trad. / trad. / C. James arr. skyhook
Cath & Martin: fiddles, Eoin: bouzouki, guitar
A pipe reel of sorts (in G), followed by Green grow the rushes, the tune of the Robert Burns’ song, played as a reel. The Flail (Mr John Stewart of Grantully) is a pipe reel from the Scottish and Cape Breton traditions, where it was also sung as port-a-beul (mouth music). Turbo Duck was named after the misidentification of a distant otter swimming at high speed in Loch Nevis.
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9. Huckleberry Hornpipe / Snippy
B. Berline / C. James arr. skyhook
Eoin: guitar, Cath: fiddle, Martin: guitar, Mike: double bass
This is Eoin’s setting of Byron Berline’s classic tune. Snippy (Cath) and her round-tipped paper scissors were rarely parted in the early 1970’s. These hornpipes are our humble homage to the Quintette of the Hot Club of France and the inspirational world of bluegrass music.
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10. Green grass grows bonny
Traditional arr. skyhook / Lynch
Eoin: vocals & guitar, Martin: fiddle, Cath: viola
A tale of love and deception, unusual for being told by both protagonists in the first person. Eoin originally heard it in a different form sung by his mother. The guitar arrangement tips a Glengarry hat to the fine musician Tomás Lynch, who himself learned the song from Liam Weldon.
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11. Tom Dey / Cutting Ferns / Considering a move / Jack Daniel’s Reel
J.S. Skinner / trad. / J. Holland / J.M. Rankin arr. skyhook
Cath & Martin: fiddles, Eoin: guitar
A strathspey-reel set inspired by the fiddle players of Cape Breton. We got these tunes from Jerry Holland’s second tunebook, published by Paul Cranford.
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12. Then and Now
C. James arr. skyhook
Cath: fiddle, Martin: guitar, Eoin: guitar
A haunting slow air dedicated to friends past and present.
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