Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
If travel broadens the mind then anyone who takes their instrument of choice beyond the horizon that they see in their first tentative steps of learning is to be congratulated, such is the temptation to just play and not allow the words to flow naturally into the performance, that so many people only ever see the result in the illusion and dreams but never do they take their musical passport to look officialdom in the eye and use the experience to be seen as Crossing Borders.
Crossing Borders though is exactly what Graham Mackenzie has done and with some incredible style, the Celtic musings enhanced by strings so interesting and so alive that they make those that snarl in the jungle or the desert sands look as though they are mewing like a new born kitten caught in the rapture of being defeated by a ball of wool. It is in this interesting approach, the feeling of gallantry and sweat that hangs over the album like a raincloud during a drought; all is to be considered full of possibility, all is in the hands of the violin player.
The album is full of passion, of that there is no doubt, that the recording process is such that it really captures the heart of a much loved instrument without ever feeling that the mystery of its soulful delivery is in danger from being over commercialised, stilted, stunted beyond its boundaries. It is the overstepping of boundaries that makes the music grow, penetrates deep into the mind of the listener that the twin hemispheres of the brain grab hold and go for a dramatic ride.
In tracks such as Time For Granddad, The Central, Hartswood Road and Cape Breton Set, Graham Mackenzie makes a banquet out of the recording, there is no time to stop and take in the flavour of one song, the speed of such thiongs is only bound over by the peace it offers the listener and why be at peace when music is there to be had.
Crossing Borders is a joy in which Graham Mackenzie has made his mark, relentless, fearless and an album in which strings were made to dance with angels with, a wonderful offering.
Ian D. Hall