Music Matters Review

Annie Gallup—Ghost
2015, Galway Bay Music

Annie Gallup certainly has a style of her own, it just never sounds exactly the same. Over the years she has produced music with a wide variety of sounds including, string quartet, solo electric guitar (recorded live in an empty theater), impeccable quiet arrangements with Peter Galway and various tasteful modern singer-songwriter configurations. This album is the result of Gallup’s quest to work with Gabe Witcher, after hearing his haunting fiddle work five years earlier. When the first track, “Diamond Ring,” starts with Witcher's rich mountain fiddling, it seems to be quite a departure from Gallup's previous work… until she starts to sing. The integrity of her lyrics and her unique phrasing translate seamlessly to the traditional style of this song. “My mother’s diamond ring/ Witnessed everything/ It was there for the spark that made me/ Sharp on the hand that raised me.” I would not have been surprised if I had found that Dolly Parton had written this song (and I'd surely like to hear her cover it!). Actually the only covers are a bluesy interpretation of Utah Phillips’ “Rock Salt and Nails,” and Dougie MacLean’s “Caledonia,” a duet with Witcher's fiddle also featuring harmony vocals by Anna Abbey. Ever eclectic, Gallup inhabits the different genres and rhythms her songs demand, as Witcher teases a sweet range of emotion from his bowed strings. David West on mandolin, dobro and National Steel and Peter Gallway on string bass and vocals each contribute subtly to the essence of the music. Deep artistry and musicianship is the constant in Gallup’s work and it once again it shines brightly in fine company. —Michael Devlin