Hans Matheson Online





Site established July 2003

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Out on The Islands" A listener's review

thanks to the legendary Gigi

Unpretentious, thought-provoking, and undeniably sincere.

All the songs -- all of them -- are about the island or family. It is really Ado's album through and through. His son Hans (also noted actor in "Les Mis" and "Still Crazy") melds completely in as his background singer, and Mandy is most prominent in the upbeat "The Harbour" and "Song of the Wind" and has a lovely, high, feminine voice.

It begins with "Harvest Time" upbeat in style, its lyrics are a melancoly explanation of the exodus from the Outer Hebrides, that the author obviously loved so much. "Christina" is about Ado's sister, who obviously went through some heartbreak in a relationship physical illness as well. I conclude they lost her. It is a yearning song, the guitar intro sounding almost like classical Latin guitar, and it makes you (or at least me) want to hear the whole story, as does "Little Did I Know" -- the song every ex-girlfriend wants to hear.

"The Old Fisherman" is equally yearning and wistful. It reminds me of a time when my father was seriously ill. It is followed by "Out on the Islands" which starts "I used to feel so free" -- and suddenly as you listen,... you do. It floats you along a memory and reminds me a lot of Van Morrison's style -- particularly the "Moondance" album (albeit excluding the title song), or maybe "Down the Road". "Tide and Time", about Ado's father-in-law, is a sweet, sincere dedication.

This is a largely mellow album. The guitar is a prominent sound, very little "jigging" as is often heard in Celtic derivative music. Very mood inducing, very thoughtful, definitely takes you somewhere and makes that place seems familiar in a very primal sense. This is a love song for the island and the people this family loved there. Sweet recollections. Some bittersweet. I thinks it's fair to say sentimental, in a good sense. "Ancestral Chimes" reminds me a little of Eric Clapton's "If I Saw You in Heaven". It's followed by another upbeat, "Song of the Wind". These are the kind of acoustic guitar pieces that you dream of having a beautiful man sing to you. The violin is very much folk-fiddle, and fits nicely and subtly. "Never Grow So Cold" is a song that reminds me of Cat Stevens' "Sad Lisa" -- it tells about a nanosecond encounter with a solitary woman you want to learn the life story of by the end... Again, gets you in touch with a feeling of loss, loneliness, quiet anguish. "Iona" almost sounds like a quiet, determined march and hints of the historical, and "Wings on the Water", an instrumental, is sublime and transcendent -- totally yoga music. Overall, this is a love song. AND if you're patient, a final unmarked track has Ado and his guitar singing "Out on the Islands" as reward.

This is the kind of music you sit down to with a warm-hued red wine or a cup of coffee and lay back in your cushion and dream. It's thought provoking, mellow, unpretentious and undeniably sincere and soulful. Very comfortable. You could lay outside under the stars to this stuff. No neighbor is going to get mad if it's turned up too loud...that in itself would be a feat. This stuff belongs at an outdoor amphitheater, floating through the air. It would comfort a crying baby or mourning mother. It even calms me, and for those who have assisted in that previously, you must realize the undertaking that represents... beautitful, beautiful. This artist previously played with Runrig and Davey Spillane. I think you will find the album original and fulfilling.

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