With numerous good reviews to their name, Fiddlers Bid are becoming one of the better known folk bands in the UK: even if their fame has yet to go beyond folk circles. Naked and Bare, as the title of their latest album suggests, has much to reveal to those unfamiliar with the band, with even Fiddlers Bid connoisseurs having reason to be pleasantly surprised by what is on offer. Most of the tracks can be described loosely as traditional Celtic folk, with tunes from their native Shetlands dominating the album. However, Fiddlers Bid show themselves to be more adventurous than many of their contemporaries, in that they are not afraid to use self-penned material and music from other cultures, and that they have managed to add guitars and piano to their sound. For this, they deserve praise, simply for daring to do something different with their folk music. After all, who could make three Shetland reels and a Spanish salsa tune intertwine beautifully as they do in "Trøila Knowe"? Overall, whilst the Emperor in the fairytale had his essential nakedness exposed to the world, Naked and Bare shows that if Fiddlers Bid keep on producing music as good as this, there is no danger of that happening.
This is Da Bid's most accomplished recording so far. Stunning from beginning to end, the only thing that improves on this is to see them live. This band has the full range of sound from the most delicate and exquisite clarsach playing of Catriona Mckay to the full on power of the fiddling foursome added to great piano, guitar and bass rhythm. The neverending high quality of the Shetland material is added to with their own self penned tracks and some from further afield. The closer is the stunning and haunting Foroyars from the Faeroes, Amazing. Can't see or hear enough of this class outfit.
After having had my life thoroughly captivated by the band's last release "All Dressed In Yellow", and being very familiar with my introduction to the band, "Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer", I've set about exploring their other releases. My initial reaction to "Naked And Bare" was a little more muted than I'd expected, but as with the other releases, the best thing to do is to stick it on the car player and just listen again and again. In doing so, I discovered the true rewards of this CD. Not as accomplished or as lavishly produced as "All Dressed In Yellow" and without its confident swagger, there's a lot to mine from "Naked And Bare". Beautiful tunes, wonderful playing, and the invitation to delve into a sidstreet of traditional music and relish the result. Shetland fiddle music has now become my not so guilty pleasure. And this from a hardened Irish rocker, certainly more comfortable with a Les Paul than a mandolin. I'd recommend this, perhaps not as an introduction to the band, but as a second course to a really enjoyable feast of music that breathes life, energy and passion into the jaded world of music we have today.