Even in the Rain CD Synergy CD Ae Spark o Nature's Fire CD Live

Edinburgh Guide (Festival Fringe, August 2006)

Deaf Shepherd deliver the whole gamut of Scottish traditional music with flair, and it's a pity that we hear them so rarely in concert these days.

Monday's programme had two stand-in players. Mark Duff on bodhran and whistles and Simon McKerral on pipes have impeccable musical pedigrees and are more than capable of seamlessly slotting in to the line-up. Duff was a founder member of Capercaillie and McKerral had arrived fresh from a piping trophy success at the Skye gathering. We could see why in the opening set of pipe tunes, which built to show off the full band sounding in excellent form. We knew we were in for a good evening.

Avoiding the sin of fusion and with a light touch on the pedals, the band's style remains innovative but firmly grounded within the tradition. West Coast with a dash of Irish rhythm, Gaelic airs and Lowland songs, it's all there, played with passion and integrity by a group of outstanding musicians. The fast and furious sets are interspersed with quieter airs and songs from John Morran. Morran is a fine traditional singer; he can tell the story and set the mood and when the band joins in with him it is always the song that leads. A great concert, unmissable next time around.
© Val Baskott. 16 August 2006.Published on www.edinburghguide.com.

The Scotsman Sue Wilson (2nd September 1999) reviewing Edinburgh Festival Fringe*****

"As this was one of two sold-out concerts on its first fourth-week night, the Spiegeltent's decision to stay open an extra week looks to have been swiftly vindicated. A mixed crowd of locals and remaining visitors were treated to a typically powerhouse set from an outfit whose cheesy joke of a name belies the serious respect they command throughout the Scottish folk scene, from traditionalists and innovators alike.

Their success in appealing to both camps derives from a core adherence to traditional methods.  They eschew any overtly fusion-based approach to either instrumentation or material, but the band's twentysomething average age is enough to invigorate a squarely Scottish sound.

Their tirelessly eager energy infuses their playing with irresistible potency, combined with the underlying influence of the sextet's contemporary musical tastes, which is apparent in the arrangements' rhythmic sophistication and inventive handling of harmony and texture.  Dance-tune numbers such as Keys, Money, Fags and Even in the Rain let their hair down with joyous abandon, while several 2/4 pipe marches generated a powerful but never ponderous momentum.

A similar old/new balancing act was also discernible in their choice of songs, ranging from Burns and Border ballads to modern-day compositions such as the exquisite Lost For Words and Huntin' the Buntin'.  All were given eloquent expression by John Morran's gentle, richly shaded vocals, once again confirming his ranking - along with his band's - among today's finest young tradition-bearers."

The Scotsman Alastair Clark (13th April 1998)

"You want fiddles? They have two of them. You want bagpipes? They have in Rory Campbell a man who can bring an audience to its feet and get them dancing frenetically in the aisles, so much so that on Saturday night the sound-man, Johnny Ramsay, had to leave his console to lean his not inconsiderable bulk on the speaker stack, which was trying to bop around with the rest of the crowd. Deaf Shepherd are quite simply the best folk band Scotland has produced in many a year. They are irresistible, playing with fire and precision, continually injecting cleverly timed fresh explosions of excitement into their propulsive, roller-coaster sets of tunes. They didn’t so much as bring the house down as build the house into frenzy of excitement..."

The Herald (18th January 1999) - Rob Adams, reviewing Celtic Connections, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

"This Sunday evening double-bill featured, arguably, the most touted young groups in Ireland and Scotland, one making its first appearance at the [Celtic Connections] festival [Lia Luachra - Ireland], the other responsible for attracting the bumper attendance [Deaf Shepherd – Scotland]. ……Deaf Shepherd’s emergence at the forefront of the Scottish scene has come on the back of much hard work and dedication, qualities which are paying off in more ways than just growing popularity. There’s a maturity now to their performances, with the sextet splitting off into subgroupings – fiddle and guitar or pipes, fiddle and bouzouki – to shift emphasis and give the music an extra dimension. They more than lived up to the full house’s expectations, running a gamut from some beautifully considered slow airs through funky jigs of a decidedly catchy lilt and into a whirlwind of excitement that has become their trademark. "

The Scotsman Sue Wilson (12th August 1998)

"Arguably Scotland’s finest young traditional music band."

and reviewing the Cambridge Folk Festival 1998

"…Deaf Shepherd making a positively seismic impression."

Michael and Christian Moll reviewingThe Gosport Easter Festival 1998

"Good Friday was good indeed. After a brilliant afternoon with among others Calluna and Deaf Shepherd, the evening was for me a Scottish dream team – simply the best of Scottish music around… Then Deaf Shepherd played, they are maybe the best Scottish traditional band at the moment; their music is a fresh as it is lively –

The Gosport Easter Festival 1998

"There have been few sounds more invigorating on the Scottish music scene lately than Deaf Shepherd going for it."

The Scotsman Sue Wilson (19th January 1998)

"....twin fiddles driven resonantly in synch...and sometimes , gloriously, twin pipes, for the total Scottish power experience. What sets them apart from the pack is their assurance in combining that essential spirit of radge-ness with exacting attention to detail. The latter shone through in the many textured layers of ensemble interplay......"

Edinburgh Evening News - Stephanie Noblett (8th Dec1997)

"....with Deaf Shepherd you can't have too much of a good thing." "..you can't fault them, and it's very hard to stay in your seat."

Scotland on Sunday Norman Chalmers (15 Dec 1997)

"..a band that has delivered the promise of the first album and continues to evolve."

Edinburgh Festival Newspaper (August 1997)

"When Deaf Shepherd hit their stride, four songs into the gig, its no time for Calvinist restraint; John Knox would be turning in his grave at the wonderful depravity of the "Minister's Set"...Throw away the chairs, and dance to some of the best, gizmo-free Scottish folk music that you're likely to lay your hands on during the festival."

The Shetland Times Michelle Henderson (30th May 1997)

"Providing a high energy performance Deaf Shepherd captured the crowd from the first number.....imaginative and diverse arrangements, along with infectious enthusiasm, kept a lively audience dancing and cheering...."

The Scotsman Jim Gilchrist

"...nothing to stem the exhilarating flow of the music......Believe me, there are no flies on Deaf Shepherd."

The Scotsman Sue Wilson ( 3 April 1996)

"Monday night at the Edinburgh Folk Festival saw an embarrassment of riches with folk breathing new life into the tradition left, right and centre. Edinburgh quintet Deaf Shepherd playing a blinder down the stairs – daft name, seriously good band, harnessing well-honed musicianship to a truly blistering collective energy. Fiddles and whistles intertwining silkily or careening along as one in a helter-skelter gallop; a rhythm section of bouzouki, guitar and bodhran producing a tremendous roomy depth of tone. Turning on a sixpence to a haunting, limpid fragility in the vocal numbers, such as the lovely self-penned "Lost for Words at Sea""

The Edinburgh Folk Festival 1996

"This marvellous band goes from strength to strength. With a new album out on Greentrax, it surely can’t be long before they’re playing everywhere. Radio 2 specially requested this performance so they could record them! – "

The Scotland on Sunday - Norman Chalmers (7 April 1996)

"Deaf Shepherd, a young band going places…"

Stonehaven Folk Festival 1995

"Their music comes from the purer end of the traditional music spectrum"