Kenny Mathieson (18 February 2002)
"This album has been a long time coming, but proves well worth
Deaf Shepherd's amalgamation of Borders and Highland traditions
has always been a powerful one, and is now more refined than
ever. The instrumental sets combine expression with virtuosity
in equal measure at any tempo, with Rory Campbell's pipes and the
twin fiddles of Clare McLaughlin and Marianne Campbell prominently
John Morran's superb singing illuminates lovely songs such as
The Bonnie Lass o' Wellwid Ha' and The Mermaid's
Sang, while rock singer Sam Brown is a surprise guest on the
final track, the more contemporary Lost For Words at
The Sunday Herald ***** (5 STARS)
Sue Wilson (27 January 2002)
"There has been a fair old gap between
albums for Edinburgh-based six-piece Deaf Shepherd with five years
going by since their second release, Synergy. With band
members variously juggling day jobs and multi-track musical careers,
matching up diaries to record presents a challenge. Despite
all this, their new album, Even In The Rain, decisively underscores
their reputation as one of Scotland's most excitingly accomplished
With a line-up of twin fiddles, bagpipes
(Highland, lowland and Galician), whistles, guitar, bouzouki,
percussion and vocals, they're equipped to cover a lot of bases -
melodic, harmonic, tectural, rhythmic. Few can beat them for a
headlong, full-frontal power charge, climbing up through the musical
gears, as in the six-tune set Braemar Gathering or the giddying rush
of the title track. Their high-speed ensemble playing is
formidably tight, yet they still consistently go the extra mile in
terms of harmonic finesse and ornamentation.
The slower arrangements are put together
with similar astuteness and care, which can be seen in the silky,
sun-dappled waltz, Póilín Ní Lionsaigh, or the majestic, pulsing
march, Chessmen, set to a tautly syncopated backing groove.
Then there's the crowning glory of John
Morran's gentle, heartfelt vocals, heard to sublime advantage
singing Burns - Yestreen I Had A Pint O' Wine, and I Coft A Stane O'
Haslock Woo - along with a gorgeous, immaculately understated new
setting of Robert Stephen's The Mermaids' Sang."
Scotland on Sunday**** (4
Norman Chalmers (24/2/02 )
"The Scots sextet’s latest album is the
first on their own label, and is also a multimedia CD ROM (PC and
Mac) that includes sleeve notes, lyrics, video footage and
interviews with the band, and the dozen tracks confirm DS as equal
to the most imaginative and skilled among the great crop of
contemporary Caledonian music-makers. The traditions of Highland
piping are taken further by Rory Campbell’s brilliant compositions -
his ‘Chessmen’ here is a subtle beauty - while John Morran’s singing
gets under the skin of a rural Lowland sensibility. Clean production
values and great playing on fiddles and frets. "
The Living Tradition – issue
Alan Mcintosh Brown
"Christmas may be long over but there are
still some crackers left, and this is most definitely one of them.
“Even in the Rain” is the third CD released by Deaf Shepherd and it
reinforces all the good things the band have done in their
relatively short career, confirming their position in the Premier
League of folk bands in Scotland.
The usual line-up of John Morran (guitar,
vocals), Marianne Campbell (fiddle, vocals, piano), Clare McLaughlin
(fiddle), Malcolm Stitt (bouzouki, vocals) and Rory Campbell (pipes,
whistles, vocals) is joined by bodhran and percussionist Mark
Maguire and instrumentally they are as tight and disciplined as
In addition, Deaf Shepherd possess the knack
of making the correct choices to keep up the momentum in their tune
sets. They can power on all cylinders when appropriate but other
bands should take a listen to the “Braemar Gathering” set on this
album where they cruise along subtly and let the melody carry the
And don’t forget the songs: John Morran has
matured into one of the finest traditional singers doing the rounds
and this album more than suggests that he’s possibly unparalleled
among present-day singers in his delivery of songs in Scots.
Standout tracks? I’d be quicker photocopying
the sleeve. Nothing — repeat, nothing — lets down the album in any
way. This is a band with all-round ability and presentation skills.
It’s their first release on their own label and there’s even a bonus
— the album is a CD-Rom and contains sleeve notes, lyrics, a video
of the band in concert and interviews with its members. Thoroughly
"They may be one of Scotland’s more
traditionally inclined bands — look, no synthesisers! — but that has
not stopped Deaf Shepherd from getting to grips withthe new
technology. Their new self-produced CD comes with such tasty
enhancements as a gallery of photos, songnotes and lyric sheet and,
best ofall, a video clip of the band in áction. But never mind the
extras, what of the music? Happily, Deaf Shepherd remain one of the
more significant Scottish bands and with almost a decade behind them
have tempered their natural energy with a musical maturity. Malcolm
Stitt and Rory Camp-return to the fold after a slight diversion to
produce their album, the excellent “Nusa”. Their Gaeltacht heritage,
especially Campbell’s Highland pipes,with John Morran’s
uncompromisingly Lowland singing voice, making DS one of the most
representatively Scottish bands around. Look out also for special
guest vocals from Sam Brown — yes, daughter of Joe and sometime
Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra vocalist on the final
Pete Fyffe (17 January 2002)
"2002 has started auspiciously with this
opening gambit from Scots band Deaf Shepherd. The future of folk is
in safe hands while we have artists of this calibre. The band
feature the high octane twin fiddles of Clare McLauglin and Marianne
Campbell, Rory Campbell on pipes and whistles, John Morran on
guitars and vocals, Malcolm Stitt on bouzouki and vocals and new boy
Mark Maguire on percussion.
Opening with what sounds suspiciously like a
Battlefield Band or Ossian arrangement (no bad thing!) the skirl of
the pipes and rhythm guitar takes off like a rocket when the fiddles
are given the lead and you can just tell this is going to be a great
recording. The arrangements are crisp and dynamic and the addition
of Mark's snare drum, which brings to mind the glory days of Five
Hand Reel, gives the band a new dimension. I must admit that the
final track 'Lost For Words At Sea' with special guest Sam Brown
(yes, she of 'Stop' fame!) takes a bit of getting used to but after
repeated listening makes more musical sense than I thought at first.
For those of you looking at value for money,
the disk (played on your computer) also includes video footage and
photos for good measure. Take my word for it, this is a must have CD
for any discerning lover of good music."
Folk World Internet
"Even in the rain" sees Scotland's best
traditional band in its very best shape. It features the usual
eclectic mix of wild traditionally based tunes, beautiful songs in Scots and wonderful calm tunes. The first tune
"Millenium Village" directly bursts with energy and passion, while the second
number provides a calming down with a quiet song, "The bonnie Lass o wellwid ha'",
showcasing the talents of singer John Morran.
Deaf Shepherd are without doubt the
best traditional folk band that Scotland has produced since a long
time. The band is still not playing full time; most members have
"normal" day jobs, and maybe it is just the fact that they are a
hobby band that keeps their music so lively, fresh and original.
Deaf Shepherd gather the best talents of the Scottish music scene:
John Morran can be claimed as one of the best singers in Scots
language, Marianne Campbell and Clare McLaughlin are two highly
skilled fiddlers, Rory Campbell is not only one of Scotland's best
pipe and whistle players, but also one of the most talented composers of tunes in the Gaelic tradition.
Then there is Malcolm Stitt, probably the most sought-after bouzouki players
in the Scottish scene today (playing also with the Boys of the Lough); and finally,
Mark Maguire is a great bodhran player.
"Even in the rain" is the third CD of Deaf
Shepherd, after the celebrated releases "Ae Spark o Nature's Fire"
and "Synergy". The concept has stayed the same, and the result is
even more stunning. "Even in the rain" gives you the kick, more than
any other traditional music release since a long time; and without
doubt, this album will make Deaf Shepherd again many more fans. One
of their fans is by the way Sam Brown (of "Stop" and Jool Holland
Big band fame) - she was that fascinated by the music that she
directly asked if she could join in. And as an offer of a good
singer can be hardly rejected, we find on the CD a bonus track, Deaf
Shepherd feat. singer Sam Brown: The song "Lost for words at sea",
to be found in its original version at the debut album
of Deaf Shepherd, is beautifully mastered by Sam with the band. Her comment: "It's really
different for me, and I loved it."
For anybody who has never seen the band
playing live, Deaf Shepherd have added a CD ROM part to the CD,
featuring a video of a live concert well presenting the unique
power, spark and flair so typically for this young band, mixed with some interview statements. This is probably the best
album of Deaf Shepherd so far, and confirms their status as
the very best folk band that Scotland has on offer. A gem from the first
to the last minute; an absolute must-buy!
Keith Hudson (April/May 2002)
"FIVE years on from the excellent Synergy,
this new release shows the Scottish six-piece oozing confidence and
blasting out some of the best traditional music you are likely to hear. Comparisons are invidious
but can be helpful. Deaf Shepherd are certainly reminiscent of Battlefield
Band, but they are no clones. Their individuality and singular identity shine through and those
attributes are firmly stamped on this album.
Separating them from the crowd are John
Morran’s gentle, but persuasive singing, the glorious twin fiddles
of Clare McLaughlin and Marianne Campbell and Rory Campbell’s
commanding work on Highland pipes and whistles. Add to that Malcolm
Stitt’s sensitive bouzouki and Mark Maguire’s percussion (particularly his bodhran work) and you have all
the ingredients for a very special dish.
Even the unlikely sounding guest vocal spot by
Sam Brown works. A well-balanced mix of strong songs and tune sets, are coupled with
exceptionally tight playing and very tasteful arrangements.
It’s not an album from which highlights
readily spring, as it never has any weak moments, but two magical
moments worth savouring are the inspired fiddling on Jimmy Lothian -
and the exquisite piping on the title track. For those
with the technology, Even in the Rain is a multimedia CD,
containing a lot more than the audio tracks. It’s high time Deaf Shepherd paid a
visit to this neck of the woods."
Moray Firth Radio
Euan Martin (23 January 2002)
"Great to see the band back on such fine
form! An outstanding new offering from the band that will
undoubtedly pitch Deaf Shepherd back to the top of the league in the