Review Archive

‘Sweet Surrender – Live Acoustic’ from Donnie Munro “… an atmosphere you can touch”

(March 05, 2015)

Recognised as the distinctive ‘voice’ of legendary Scottish band Runrig, Donnie Munro needs no introduction, neither does the band. In their own way, Runrig took an amalgam of folk and rock into a Donnie Munro Sweet Surrenderunique place and forged a timeless position placing their music equally at home with supporters of both traditional and contemporary. To rejoice in and revisit some of the songs from his own past plus some from the Gaelic tradition, Munro stripped back the instrumentation to a minimalist set and went on tour with an acoustic sound. Those of us that couldn’t make the tour can now listen to something rather wonderful, a double-CD album ‘Sweet Surrender – Live Acoustic’. The recording is clear and spectacular, the sound pure and complete with an atmosphere you can touch.

Disc One offers classics such as the deeply felt message of ‘Protect and Survive’‘The Cutter’ and ‘Dance Called America’ with its eternal tale of displacement, division and duplicity, while powerful articulation radiates through ‘Chi Min Geamradh’, a riveting take on ‘Raglan Road’ and the heart-rending Éirinn’. There’s also two compositions from Maggie Anderson - the beautiful tune ‘Leaving Lerwick Harbour’ and the joyous swing of ‘Back Up and Push’. Disc Two includes the moving ‘Irene’ and the intensely personal ‘Glasgow Joe’ written in honour of Munro’s late brother in law, an interpretation of Robin William’s ‘October Song’, an early Runrig track ‘The Wire’ to the Gaelic song ‘Mo Chruinneag Bhòidheach’ and ‘Where The Roses’ celebrating Scotland’s travellers. 

From Munro’s perspective he sums up ‘Sweet Surrender – Live Acoustic’: “For me, performance has always been about delivering the song and with the acoustic performance in particular there is that opportunity to strip everything back to its most basic and most direct communicative elements, and for the narrative to take hold. … the deepest connection with the song as a singer, is where you 'give yourself up' to the song and in essence you engage in that 'sweet surrender.”

On ‘Sweet Surrender – Live Acoustic’ two outstanding talents join Munro - Eric Cloughley on acoustic guitar and backing vocals and Maggie Adamson on fiddle - the result is a breath-taking and absorbing album. Wherever your folk music preferences reside you will love this album, no question.

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Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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