Album review Scottish albums

Calum Wood

Someone at the Scottish tourist board has commissioned musician Calum Wood to write a set of tunes as part of an initiative to attract more tourists to the Cairngorms. The project is called ‘Snow Roads’, its name perhaps chosen to reflect the fact that whenever winter arrives around Ballater the B139 between Cockbridge and Tomintoul is invariably blocked by snowdrifts. Not to worry if you are stranded in your vehicle near Lecht though, you can listen to ‘She Wynds On’ while awaiting a visit from the men with the shovels.

It needs saying that the music of the EP is lightly played, folksy and with a drivetime tempo, and a half dozen other musicians are backing Calum Woods as firstly, he brings us a sung travelogue of place names – the EPs’ eponymous title track – and then four instrumentals, each of them named after places on the 90 mile road route that the tourist board people are keen to promote here.

Basically, the music on ‘Snow Roads’ is more or less exactly what you might expect to hear on the soundtrack of a documentary filmed in the highlands, breezily performed and sufficiently jaunty with predictably Scottish sounding melodies. Whether it’ll encourage more tourists to drive up past Braemar between October and April isn’t something I’d speculate on though.