"Piper" doesn't adequately describe Fred Morrison.
It somehow underplays the point that Morrison displays his mastery of three types of bagpipes during a gig: the Highland version the public at large equate to "the pipes", their little brother, the slightly gentler-sounding, bellows-blown reel pipes, and their Irish cousin, the uilleann pipes, with which Morrison has a comical love-hate relationship. "Demon piper" comes close to describing him, at times, but then there's also his command of the low whistle to take into account – and that afforded a major highlight of this latest stop on his current tour.
His composition Leaving Uist more than lived up to Morrison's story of how it came to be written and while he can throw in jokey asides with words, his grace notes, blue notes and stirring musical eloquence let you know just how much of a wrench was his departure for the mainland.
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Apparently his neighbours weren't so sorry, as we discovered when he gave us a guided tour of the uilleann pipes, which require such concentrated coordination that rocket scientists dismiss their own work as 'not exactly uilleann piping'.
Morrison has this unwieldy instrument under his fingers and limbs though, and with guitarist Matheu Watson matching his pace and rhythmical variations, the Kansas City Hornpipe became a transatlantic session of stunning bluegrass-phrased dexterity. It's with the reel pipes, perhaps, that Morrison shines brightest and the duo is at its most hotly creative. His quip that the parting shot would be a traditional tune arranged by Jimi Hendrix was no idle boast as hammered-on motifs, bluesy variations and feedback conspired in glorious communion.