Ailie Robertsonâ€™s aim with First Things First was to put the harp in a contemporary sounding â€œbandâ€ setting and I think she has succeeded with that. I didnâ€™t know what to expect when I first put the cd on, but from the word go I was captured. Not only is she a great player, but she also shows all the potential of the harp. From mellow and subtle slow airs to almost rock like tracks, her playing is spot on. Yes, the harp is indeed a very delicate instrument, but in the skilled hands of Robertson it can also be transformed into an instrument as potent as an electric lead guitar.
Alongside the harp the cd features guitar, bass, piano/harmonium and cajon/percussion – all played by very competent musicians. Thereâ€™s no doubt, though, that this is a solo album for the harp. The other instruments are along to make up the band setting.
Thereâ€™s a good mix of tunes on the cd, ranging from traditional Scottish and Irish tunes to newly composed tunes. Several of which are Robertsonâ€™s own compositions, proving she is not only a gifted and original musician, but also a gifted composer. Beautiful slow airs almost leave you in a trance from which you are catapulted the next moment by fast and heavy rhythms.
Three tracks, which epitomize the cd, are Ho â€œRo Mo Bhobag An Dram (The Favourite Dram)â€ followed by â€œDonald, Willie and His Dogâ€ and â€œSpiritsâ€ – They have it all: The impeccable and delicate harp playing followed by the wake up call of rough and fast harp picking and rhythmic drums and hand claps and back into a slow air when its best.
Ailie Robertson set out to prove a point and this she has done: This beautiful cd works!
LORRCD1 (August 2008)