On ‘Causeway Recordings,’ Sam Shackleton is able to successfully combine two traditions and roll them into one.
Americana music is built on so many musical traditions and it is not solely exclusive to the American continent. Edinburgh, Scotland is where singer, songwriter, storyteller and musical traditionalist Sam Shackleton, aka Sorley the Bard, debuts his album ‘Causeway Recordings’.’ Recording it in his own home, Shackleton combines very old and not-so-old traditions – the ancient storytelling traditions of the Celtic lands combined with the folk revival tradition of the sixties where the music serves as the backbone for the storytellers.
This is a tricky road to navigate – get it wrong and the result is monotonous and uninspiring. Yet, on the evidence of ‘Causeway Recordings,’ Shackleton is not only an excellent storyteller who recalls lived experiences but also seems to have musically inhaled the best of the Folkways or Vanguard sixties recordings. His acoustic guitar and harmonica playing are good and his banjo technique impeccable. Together with his sense of rhythm, both for the music and the lyrics, it gives all of the tracks, particularly ‘Pale Blue Swallows’, that almost timeless feeling that Shackleton was striving for.