Dunfermline has long been associated with Scottish folk and country music; from the folk revival in the 1960’s to Big Country in the 1980’s, the Fife town has contributed massively to the Scottish folk scene.
Craig Anderson and Paul Connelly, or The Cognac Twins as they are better known, continue that tradition with their excellent self-titled album.
Described as ‘authentic guid folk music for authentic guid folk’, this album is as diverse as the Twins’ list of influences with each track taking on a different style while still staying true to the band’s original sound.
Opening track ‘Pretending’ is a good ole fashioned bluegrass toe-tapper with a walking guitar riff and perfect melodies.
The only thing missing from this song is someone playing the milk jug and another on the washboard as you imagine listening from atop a Mississippi haystack.
From this opening slice of Americana, we are taken a very different path with second track ‘Angel on High’; the floating rhythm and lyrics are more akin to UK bands in the 1960’s than the upbeat hootenanny of the previous track.
‘Bricks and Mortar’ is a very well put together track, with a pounding bass drum and folk guitar really pushing the track forward; again, the harmonies are masterful and when coupled with the stomping drum give this song the feel of a call to action.
Upon hearing the steel guitar and swaggering blues of ‘Don’t Forget Your Sons’ many people will be craving a bourbon in the deep south, until the line “get in the seat of my escort Mk III” brings the you crashing back to Dunfermline faster than a Cosworth pulling off the line; this contrast is effective as it shows the band haven’t forgotten their roots.
‘Tomorrow’s People’ is a proper folk ballad with soulful, heartfelt lyrics and rising violin adding to the drama of the song, again the vocals compliment each other perfectly and are a testament to the artists.
After ‘Lucky Lad’ continues in the same vein, the album kicks back into gear with ‘My Time is Coming’ an upbeat blues ditty, which deals with the existential crisis of getting older but in a jovial, cheery tone.
The penultimate ‘Rita’ is an excellent, if short, sing-a-long that will have you clapping your hands and joining in with the chorus; the song ends abruptly and feels as though there should be another verse, but there is the old adage of quality over quantity.
Final track ‘Funny’ is a reflective look at life and love coupled with sleepy guitar and jazzy double bass.
“It’s funny how every night I still think about my time with you”, the song is an all to familiar tale of missing someone but thinking back with fond memories.
At just under 30 minutes long this is a short album but definitely leaves the listener wanting more; like a fine cognac, it looks as though this band will get better as time goes on.
Words: Steven Aitken