Debut guitar and mandolin instrumental album by Steve Brown. Shooglenifty meets Segovia and Satriani.
This genre has been described as Celtic Fusion, Acid Croft, Turbo Ceilidh?? With the inclusion of electric and classical guitar instrumentals a more fitting description may be PROG CROFT!
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The debut solo instrumental album COSMIC CEILIDH by BROON — Steve Brown's alter ego! Ceilidh (kay-lee) is Scottish for a party or dance and these tunes are traditional-sounding melodies with a modern twist. The lead instrument on most of the tracks is mandolin or guitar. These tunes were written over several years — influenced by Satriani, Segovia and Shooglenifty — inspired by friends, family, and life in the Highlands of Scotland.
Steve has been a full-time gigging musician since 1993 — playing mainly weddings and pubs 3–5 nights a week, with Wonderland, Moving Pictures (Rush Tribute), Seeing Red and solo covers. Due to COVID there is still no sign of any live music happening here in the UK but one upshot of having time at home is finishing this album.
Most of the instruments are played by Steve — mandolin, guitars, bass, keyboards, accordion and drum loops — plus some wonderful contributions by Pete Harbidge on cornet, Eoin de Paor on fiddle, whistle, flute and bass, John Whyte on trombone and ‘Neil Peart drums by Sonic Reality’. Yes indeed, actual drum loops played by the dearly departed Professor himself feature on a couple of tunes.
Please check out this video that was used on the Kickstarter campaign page. Steve explains what the album is all about and plays a few snippets of some of the tracks.
“Broon‘s self-released Cosmic Ceilidh, the instrumental accompaniment for a progressive folk hoedown with nods to rock, Americana and jazz. Broon is multi-instrumentalist Steve Brown, he of the mandolin, guitars, bass, piano, accordion and drum loops. Written over six years in his home studio in Arisaig, its stylistic blend is what he drily calls “a game of three halves”. Sometimes, as on New Clear Days, Brown mixes old-school instrumentation with beats, adding rock guitar and a funk groove to such as Seeds Beneath The Snow. Others again, like A Timeless Love, are all pretty acoustics. With is command of loop sorcery and devotion to Rush, three tracks feature the ethereal drumming presence of Neil Peart. As brown says “file under world music, celtic fusion, prog croft”, but most of all, just enjoy, and genres be damned.”
Paul Sexton — PROG Magazine
“A lot of artists claim they can’t be pigeonholed, but multi-instrumentalist Steve Brown — aka Broon — definitely flies beyond such critical confines. A professional musician, mainly in covers bands, for nearly three decades, the past year’s enforced lay-off has prompted Brown to get out his guitars, mandolin, bass, accordion and piano, programme a few drum loops, and record these 15 instrumentals.
Taken together, they form a largely acoustic-based odyssey through styles that range from delicate waltz-time classical sketches to soaring prog folk, with funky excursions and world dance beats aplenty. Brown’s versatility on Cosmic Ceilidh is impressive, and I’m particularly partial to the flashes of searing electric guitar that hallmark a trio of rockier compositions, starting with the wittily titled “The Devil Came Down To Glenuig”. This track itself is notable in being one of three on which Rush fan brown employs drum loops from Neil Peart.
Sometimes, though, the diversity is a distraction, and in places this feels more like a label sampler than a solo album, for all the recurrence of some musical themes. It’s as if there are a couple of possible albums in here – very good albums at that – wrestling for attention.”
Oz Hardwick — RnR Magazine
“The steel-string acoustic on Saor brings to mind Jimmy Page’s Bron Yr Aur, and Hash Browns rocks like a hurricane with some funky and dirty lead lines thrown in.”
Mike Ainscoe — At The Barrier
“Cosmic Ceilidh has a grand, sweeping, landscape-of-sound vibe, that really evokes its Highlands origins”
Jodie Schofield - Folking.com
“Though the album should be heard from start to finish, as you would with perhaps any classical piece, it is possible to play with the order in your mind, and as tracks such as The JK Express, the combination of Soar and Skye Cottage which merge into the outstanding Hope Part I and II, Arisaig Boogie, which features the delicious talent of Pete Harbidge and John Whyte, the nod to Rush in The Devil Came To Glenuig, The Great Unmastered, which exposes the beauty of Neil Peart’s drum loops and the finale of a healthy and tremendous piece of musicianship, Slainte Mhath give creedence to the idea that the Cosmos is listening, patiently waiting for the moment when it is right for you to leave your mark in the stars. A breath-taking experience, Broon’s Cosmic Ceilidh is a box of treasure ready to be opened with eager anticipation”
Ian D Hall — Liverpool Sound and Vision
“A potpourri of styles and genres, Cosmic Ceilidh’s chief focus is on the expressive mandolin playing by someone who obviously loves the versatile junior member of the stringed instrument family. We’re advised to file the album under World Music, Celtic Fusion and Prog Croft, which makes perfect sense, though you might consider not filing it away at all, but instead have it close to your player for when the mood arises.”
Allan Wilkinson — Northern Sky
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