Anna Massie - Two Down

2024 studio album

Two Down - Anna Massie

the bright young folk review

Twenty one years is a considerable interlude between debut and second release; it seems that it took the enforced enclosure of 2020-22 to give Anna Massie time enough away from her multitudinous collaborations to record the charming collection of songs and tunes that comprise Two Down.

Alongside this project, Anna launched an award-winning lockdown blog called ’The Black Isle Correspondent’ and the opening track of the album, Thanks for Writing, is an original ode to the art of correspondence that was inspired by her blogging experience. A well crafted and memorable song, it sets the tone for the mixture of originals and old favourites that follow.

Next is the tune Dinner Medals, which opens with a jaunty guitar and mandolin duet, then augmented by fiddle and vocal doo-be-doos layered over. Every instrument and part on this album has been performed by Massie. The virtuosity which has been prized and utilised with artists such as RANT, Bella Hardy and Blazin’ Fiddles is in constant evidence as the tracks unfold. Recording of the album was done by Massie’s Blazin’ Fiddles Bandmate Angus Lyon at Grans House studios in Lanarkshire.

There is a contagious bouncy optimism which infuses this whole work, almost in spite of the recurring theme of heartbreak and lost love. The wry humour in the lyric of My Life is Over Again overlays a pacy acoustic strum, and the injection of vo-brass harmonies sustain the air of cheekiness.

Stepping through the tunes including 100 Days, Out On The Ocean and wonderful The Lovat Bar, we experience the kaleidoscope of Anna’s competence across styles and tempos, be it on fiddle, guitar, mandolin and even percussive mastery of the spoons, as heard in Goren Berg’s Polka. All of this alongside vocals which have consistent clarity and honesty gives a really pleasurable listen.

The Outdoor Type merits special mention; a comedic reflection upon the pitfalls of deception in the world of dating. It channels the very spirit of Victoria Wood, giving us the memorable line “God bless the great indoors”.

Like many fine meals that end with a nice cheese, so this album concludes with a gentle rendition of Tiffany’s 80s hit I Think We’re Alone Now, delivered optimistically and implying a yearning for the simplicity of teenage crushes when weighed against the complex adult emotions of the preceding songs.

Two Down is indeed a delicious feast, and tasting is recommended. Bon appetit, listeners!

Angela Stock

Released 1 March 2024 on CD 15 March 2024 digitally. Recorded by Angus Lyon.

1. Thanks For Writing
2. Dinner Medals
3. My Life Is Over Again
4. 100 Days
5. Worth The Wait
6. Anything From You
7. The Lovat Bar
8. Out On The Ocean
9. The Outdoor Type
10. Big Days
11. The Pioneers’ Waltz
12. Göran Berg’s Polka
13. I Think We’re Alone Now

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