Michael Hurdle and Paul Anderson, Highlands & Houston

by J. Pepper

How do you describe Michael Hurdle, well a few adjectives come to mind; songster, pioneer, a textural genius.  The predominate of the album is instrumental, but there is beauty aplenty in the vocal tracks on this variety of styles album, that is firmly rooted in the Celtic genre.

Another highlight of this album is that all the tunes are originals, but the best examples of outstanding vocal tracks can be found in “Song for Charlotte,” vocalist Elisha Jordan is simply transcendent.  Her voice is supple and buoyant, able to easily soar on the higher notes, with sweet tones and clarity.  Her gentle soprano voice is elegant, with just the right amount of vibrato to add to the melodiousness of the tune.  Co-written by Michael Hurdle and Elisha Jordan, the tune has a higher spiritual theme to it, and is a fitting tribute to their devotion.

Another highlight is the traditionally Celtic in nature is “Jeannie Mo Chridhe” which features guest artists, Alastair MacDougall on vocals and acoustic guitar with Ian Murray on baritone mandolin.  You instantly feel transported to the lush green hills and mountains of Scotland.

Speaking of being transported, “Scotland The Brave & Auld Lang Syne,” is performed by Braxton Edwards, your eyes will weep and as you stand proud in patriotism, Braxton has a beautifully clear and ringing voice, you can hear the Scottish brogue in his delivery, supported by Hunter Schappaugh on bagpipes, your heart is lifted and your eyes look towards the Highlands, then back to Houston for a collaboration of cross-continental proportions.

In this review, we are certainly focusing on the vocal tracks, but I cannot leave out the pleasing instrumental tracks that adorn this delightful recording.  They are equally enjoyable and will bring hours of enjoyment.  I love the fact that Hurdle and Anderson have put together such a lasting sound of incorporating a transnational flair, with a focus on the world of Celtic, interconnected with a Texas soulful aptitude.


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