Fiona Ross

Clyde’s Water

Tradition Bearers

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PARTICK-BORN Fiona Ross lives in Melbourne these days but she retains all the feeling for, and the ability to transmit, the Scottish song tradition that she developed on the folk scene here before moving to Australia.

Through one of her teachers, the admirable Andy Hunter, Ross is at one remove from the great traveller ballad singer Jeannie Robertson and through other sources of songs and support, such as Gordeanna McCulloch and Alison MacMorland, she has formed a character that allows her to tell both long-form ballads and shorter story songs with that crucial ingredient: believability.

Accompanied by superb guitar playing from another expatriate, Tony McManus, with added fiddle, whistles and harmonium from John McCusker on some tracks, Ross manages to bring great portent to a brief, vengeful The Burning of Auchindoun and by contrast, she clearly delights in The Laird o Cockpen having his pomposity punctured.

A lovely, unaccompanied reading of The Seasons, learned from Jeannie Robertson’s daughter Lizzy Higgins, illustrates the clarity and true tone of Ross’s singing and she and McManus form a particularly nimble duo on illicit still tale Yowie wi the Crookit Horn to underline the diversity of both singer and song tradition.

Rob Adams