(20 July 2003) Dave and Debbie Bainbridge in conjunction with Iona's Open Sky Records have produced a stunning two CD compilation entitled Songs For Luca (Open Sky (UK) VP999CD, 2003). The 26 tracks spanning the collection include contributions from a wide variety of artists--Iona, Máire Brennan, Rick Wakeman, Karnataka and Mae McKenna to name a few--that will appeal to Iona and progressive/Celtic rock enthusiasts. Proceeds from the CD sales are going towards helping Dave and Debbie's son Luca through his Son-Rise® (Autism Treatment Center of America) program. Voiceprint's Rob Ayling has played a major role in bringing this release to fruition. Material can be best grouped into tracks by Iona and Iona-related artists, other Celtic artists, progressive rock, and other instrumentals.
Iona enthusiasts will be delighted with the related material included on the compilation. The first unreleased track by the band is "Beijing - The Widescreen Remix" which appears near the end of the first CD. Equally enticing is "Man - Live in Tokyo" and "Open My Eyes - Reprise (Live in Norwich Cathedral)" which grace the second CD. Recording and production quality of these rare tracks is nothing short of superb with atmosphere, power, emotion and artistic talent perfectly captured.
Contributions by the Iona artists are equally well done. These include the opening instrumental "Columba Aspexit" by former band member David Fitzgerald, the dynamic "Sights" by award winning multi-instrumentalist Troy Donockley and Dave Bainbridge's own previously unreleased acoustic guitar track "In the Wake of Colmcille." Further contributions by Iona band members include Joanne Hogg's "Brightest and Best," Nick Beggs' special contributions to the album and previously unreleased tracks "For Luca" and "Forever in my Heart" and two from Frank van Essen entitled "Esther" and "Labyrinth." In addition to his contribution with Eden's Bridge, Terl Bryant's "My Song is Love Unknown" is another great track featuring Joanne Hogg's vocals. The Iona sound can be heard in all of these. The CDs conclude with piano numbers by Debbie Bainbridge entitled "Starlit Garden" and "Bright Flame," both previously unreleased.
Especially notable inclusions by artists new to Musical Discoveries' editors include the stunning--standout--Celtic-styled track "Open Sea" by Eden's Bridge featuring the vocal work of Sarah Lacy, percussion by former Iona member Terl Bryant and woodwinds by Capercaillie's Michael McGoldrick. We hope to review their latest album Isle Of Tides (Jude Music) soon. Jeff Johnson's "I'll Look for You" is another great number. The whispy vocals, light piano and sensitive percussion make "Shepherd Wheel" by the Peter Fairclough group another interesting track.
Mae McKenna's contributions of "The Whistlin' Gypsy Rover" and "Ca' the Ewes," Máire Brennan's "Misty Eyed Adventures" and Karnataka's (Rachel Jones) "After The Rain" serve as a wonderful introduction to the vocalists featured on the forthcoming (autumn 2003) Dave Bainbridge solo album Veil Of Gossamer with vocal contributions from these singers as well as Joanne Hogg. Says Dave, "There are to be nine tracks on the album, and I hope I've struck a nice balance of simpler acoustic sections with the more epic sounding full on bits! There are voices on six of the tracks and although I recorded the three main singers (Mae, Jo and Rachel) at different sessions (indeed in different countries--England, Ireland and Wales--their voices blend together really well and compliment each other exactly as I hoped they would."
The album is rounded out by contributions from friends of Iona: The Flower Kings' "A King's Prayer" (specially reworked for this album), Rick Wakeman's acoustic version of the Cat Stevens classic featured in many of Rick's live shows "Morning Has Broken" and Gentle Giant's "Aspritations." The droning tones of "Lament" by Julie Tippetts will likely not appeal to everyone however the evocative piano tune "Like Father, Like Son" by Adrian Snell is certainly will draw the listener in.
Songs For Luca will be a great introduction to Iona's artists for newcomers and an essential compilation for existing enthusiasts' collections. In addition to contributing to
a great cause, the album is one to seek out for your own enjoyment. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey it is by all counts a must listen!