Amy Henderson, Soul For A Compass. Album Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

The accordion is a much underrated musical apparatus, in honesty it may not look as graceful as a violin, it might not have the same appeal as the cello and it perhaps doesn’t have the associated aura of sexuality that comes with the saxophone. However, what it may lack in looks to the concert goer, it more than makes up for in sound, passion and the upbeat heart that most musical instruments cannot live with and nod in deference too when the song requires the same meaty and energetic pulse but with something extra, the close keen eyed observance of the hypnotic soul.

It is a soul that is carefully unmasked by Inverness based accordionist Amy Henderson and the rhythmic dance of an instrument that doesn’t just convey the feel of the traditional and the talent to carry it off with sublime beauty; it is the Soul For A Compass, the one that always works even when society’s moral one is out of sync or just plain wrong.

What it also does is evoke the thought of Scotland, an entity beyond that of romantic scripture or film, the sense of the mist and the fire burning in the belly of the often ignored by its closest geographical neighbour and the casual taste of soothing waters. This is a woman to whom embracing of a culture not necessarily her own is one of the points of existence, taking on the music that swims around us like welcoming salmon at the mouth of the Ness showing the boat men the way home to port, and living with it, taking it to heart and then allowing your heart to burst open like a flower.

The musical journey that Ms. Henderson has been on is captured seemingly frame by frame, as the talented accordionist with her troupe of musicians, perform diligently and with that same passionate dream throughout on tracks such as Lady Mary Ramsey, her own beautifully composed Kirsty and Kevin and Golden Years, Bonnie Ship The Diamond and Nina; it is a thrill that these arrangements see the light of day and their undoubted majesty is one that is keenly honoured.

A Soul For A Compass, nothing really can compare to that when it comes to being pointed the way to different perspective and one that still shows the way home.


Ian D. Hall