First Things First by Ailie Robertson

First things first – this is a superb, innovatively-arranged set of tunes delivering a burgeoning, rich, warm sound. The eleven thoroughly fresh-sounding arrangements feature not only Ailie’s clarsach, but also percussion (the cajon sounds
excellent!), guitar, bass and piano. For me, “˜First Things First” demonstrates above all else just how good the clarsach can sound in a band setting. Through lively reels to exquisite slow airs, Ailie’s playing effortlessly combines a vigorous, refreshing sense of “attack” with real emotion and poise.

The music leads you on a sinewy, seductive journey, starting with the deceptively languid-yet-funky groove of opening tune “˜The Exploding Bow” through to gorgeously expressive, poised tunes like the self-penned “Sands of Hosta” (inspired by a walk on a glorious North Uist beach). The bold freshness of these arrangements delivers the “WOW” factor big-time with a sparkling take on Donald Morrison’s slip jig,”Donald, Willie & His Dog”. Here, the fabulous combination of instruments explodes into a rhythm-packed crescendo of Flamenco-style handclaps. Piper Allan MacDonald’s wonderful tune ‘Na Goisidich/The Gossips’ gets equally fresh, funked-up treatment, and the effect is stunning!

A wonderful debut solo release by this young Scottish musician who isn’t afraid to fuse contemporary, jazz-inflected playing with the traditional Scottish and Irish playing techniques developed over the years. This is gorgeous stuff.


I highly recommend you pop over to Ailie’s MySpace page or website and have a listen to her gorgeous tunes:

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