Playing For Free
Released May 2017
The musicians in Snuffbox met on Glasgow’s vibrant trad music session and have created a style that harnesses the energy of the city with Perthshire’s rich musical tradition. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century the great Perthshire fiddler-composer Niel Gow and his son, Nathaniel favoured the drive and harmony of a fiddle and cello partnership as they played for dances around the country.
In Snuffbox, their fellow Perthshire native, fiddler and BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2017 winner Charlie Stewart joins cellist Rufus Huggan and guitarist-singer Luc McNally as the Gows’ natural successors.
Tunes such as the opening Reels and the rugged Limerick show all the character, fluency, depth of expression and sense of melodic adventure that Stewart displayed in his triumphant Young Trad Final performance.
All three musicians’ responsiveness and ability to change roles as a set of tunes progresses, as best exemplified by Lucy’s, keep their arrangements fresh from intro to coda.
It’s this musicianship and flair that have placed these three players among the most in-demand musicians of their generation in Scotland. In addition to Snuffbox, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student Stewart brings his keening sensitivity and muscular attack to Techno Trad Collective Sketch. Huggan, also a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student, is equally at home in chamber ensembles and folk sessions, and McNally, who provides the album’s two thoughtful, gently turned vocal tracks, also appears with Sketch and Glasgow quintet Dosca.