SIOBHÁN LONG – The Irish Times – July 1st 2011

Red (&) Gold ANE Records ****

“Scottish and Irish music cosy up with the familiarity and ease of longtime compadres. For some years now Isle of Lewis singer Alyth McCormack has guested with The Chieftains, where she made the acquaintance of harpist Tríona Marshall. Red Gold is a languorous collection of songs and tunes that draw on each artist’s strength with equal verve. McCormack’s voice, sweet but with sufficient bite to add body to the songs, is partnered by a raft of evocative and agile arrangements from Marshall on harp.

The pair never succumb to the plaintively ethereal, which can dog harp recordings in particular. Noel Eccles’ soft- shoe shuffle percussion and judicious tinctures of fiddle, guitar and double bass add further to an intriguing collection. Highlights are the pair’s cover of Chris Wood’s One in a Million and Marshall’s Red and Gold Reel , tastily paired with The Mason’s Apron . See facebook.com/alythandtriona”

 

Red & Gold review – Irland Journal – Marcus Dehm – April 2011

These two ladies really know their stuff! Alyth McCormack from Scotland has a truly magical voice, and Irish harpist Triona Marshall very impressively shows what her instrument is capable of.

But all this is of course not really surprising. The Irish cult group The Chieftans don’t allow just anyone into their ranks. McCormack has been guest singer on their last tours and Triona Marshall is a permanent member of the group.

Red Gold is a very Celtic album, not only through the choice of songs, but above all because of McCormacks’s vocals: out of her mouth even a heavy metal song would sound Celtic! These artistically first-class and wonderful arrangements are now on CD. It’s very clear that this is a (musical) match made in Heaven – and the great thing is, they share their talent with us!

Many thanks for that!

‘People like me’ – Navigator Records released 23rd Feb 2009

Irish Examiner Review 24th Feb 09

Alyth People like me (Navigator Records)

****

Scottish Folk chanteuse Alyth McCormack is a regular live guest singer with The Chieftains, and this offering reveals a solid performer cogently at ease with an endearing and engaging song selection.

Though trained in classical singing and drama, McCormack fuses her folk roots with formal tutoring to produce an uncluttered vocal delivery over superb production. Modern rhythms co-exist with old world melodies and contemporary compositions, to enhance a tender yet powerful voice. Six of the 13 tracks are performed in her native Scots Gaelic, while the sublime ‘I Wonder What’s Keeping My True Love Tonight’ is the only traditional song sung in English.

McCormack’s voice combines the purity of Joan Baez and the power of Martha Sebestyen, on arrangements that are at times lush but never pompous, enveloping the senses with warmth and splendour.

The Vices Set, a rhythmic ‘puirt a beul’ selection of mouth music, delights with Moving Hearts-ish pulsating arrangement. The title track, composed by Justin Currie (Del Amitri), is a plea for tolerance in modern Scotland, while A Smuggler’s Prayer, from the pen of Boo Hewerdine, tells the sad tale of a drug mule.

In spite of the diverse nature of the song sources, there’s a cohesive and unified tone to this record. The music is exquisitively produced and sung with heart. By tastefully and effortlessly transcending genres, this fresh recording should win the hearts of listeners across the globe. Gerry Quinn.

THE SCOTSMAN – 20th Feb 09
ALYTH: PEOPLE LIKE ME
****
NAVIGATOR RECORDS

IT’S almost a decade since Alyth (then performing as Alyth McCormack) made her debut album, so this excellent set is long overdue. The Lewis-born singer is in typically expressive voice on both traditional Gaelic songs and contemporary material in English, including Suzanne Vega’s The Queen and The Soldier, Jim Malcolm’s Neptune, Boo Hewerdine’s A Smuggler’s Prayer and Justin Currie’s People Like Me (with the writer adding backing vocals). She performs Mo Ghaol Òigfhear a Chuil Duinn unaccompanied, and sings Brendan Graham’s Till Morning Will Come with just Brian McAlpine’s piano behind her, but most songs feature combinations of a superb band that includes McAlpine on accordion as well as piano and keyboards, Jonny Hardie and Aidan O’Rourke on fiddles, and Fraser Fifield on whistle, plus bass and drums and the additional colours of cello, vibes and percussion. KENNY MATHIESON

 

**** MAVERICK MAGAZINE

Alyth – People like me

A partly Gaelic / Celtic folk, acoustic subtle and charming album, modern and trad songs combine to great effect.

 

An Iomall (The Edge) – Vertical Records released October 2000.

The Irish Edition – Philadelphia 2002

…Alyth is from the Isle of Lewis and sings in Gaelic. She has a soft, almost gentle voice: a sad lilt that tugs at something deep inside, a loneliness that creeps up on you during each song. The perfect voice for these songs.

But again, it’s the arrangements which take the songs to another level. At times disturbing, at times amusing, but always moving. I am reminded of some of the work by the Kronos Quartet or the Beatles at their most adventurous…creating a compulsive recording that I play over and over.

There is a handful of performers…who, while deeply involved in tradition, make relevant connections with alternative styles. Alyth McCormack is one of this handful.

The Seattle Weekly & www.amazon.com 2002
Review by Mark Keresman

Alyth McCormack is a young singer from the Western Islands of Scotland who sings in the Gaelic language. Despite her youth, McCormack’s voice is rich with a striking, honest maturity. At times she reminds me of Helen Merrill…as well as the trad-Balkan singer Marta Sebestyen. The rhythm of these songs is implicit and poetic, more in the rhythm and meter of the words…The instrumentation is spare (acoustic and electric guitars, piano, fiddle, cello, harp, whistles) and the mood sombre but not oppressively so. This is austere yet soulful music for deep rumination and restless, moonless nights.

The Living Tradition 2002
Debbie Koritsas

An Iomall means ‘The Edge’, and the music reflects the weather-buffeted, exposed …landscape of the Isle of Lewis, where Alyth was raised as a native Gaelic speaker. She has a beautiful, pure voice, which at one moment is incredibly gentle, and at the next strong, and with a passionate edge…All in all, a beautiful collection of songs from an artist of immense talent who never fails to surprise.

Dirty Linen Feb/Mar 2002
Review by Bruce E. Harper

…In some ways (McCormack’s) work could be compared to the ground breaking Mouth Music recordings by Martyn Bennett a few years ago…The arrangements by McCormack in collaboration with pianist Davey Trouton and producer Jim Sutherland are works of beauty themselves, with an almost classical structure but use elements from Jazz…On top of all this McCormack is a great singer using traditional stylings but adding on top of those a variety of vocal techniques to draw new emotions out of the music.