BEST known as a member of Malinky, Glasgow singer and cellist Fiona Hunter is set to release a debut solo album this year, offering a delectable foretaste here in company with its multi-instrumentalist co-producer (and sometime Malinky colleague), Mike Vass.
Following in the formidable footsteps of Karine Polwart, Hunter proved her mettle immediately upon joining the band in 2005, and time has only continued to improve and enrich her singing, as was immediately apparent in Robert Tannahill’s Braes of Gleniffer, delicately steeped in regret while emotively raw-edged, her voice at once firmly settled, or weighted, and dynamically fluid. These same latter qualities, were potently at work throughout a diverse set of primarily traditional material, much of it learned from such doyennes of the canon as Alison McMorland, Lizzie Higgins and Lucy Stewart.
The predominantly vocal material necessarily cast Vass, playing standard six-string and tenor guitars, as well as fiddle, primarily in the role of accompanist, but he fulfilled it with exemplary finesse and dovetailing elegantly with Hunter’s cello work.
A few preceding songs from Canadian visitor Jason Stein, tinged with jazz and blues, provided an intriguing contrast: impressionistic, fragmented, richly metaphorical and promisingly ambitious.