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The Sunny Hills

by Will Woodson and Eric McDonald

 Recorded at Mill Pond Studios in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in December 2014, Will and Eric sat down in a room and played the way they play in sessions or at home: live and face to face, with no overdubs and as much raw energy as they can muster. The product, masterfully captured by engineer Jim Prendergast, is fourteen tracks of traditional music that pulls no punches. Almost exclusively made up of old tunes and songs from the Scottish and Cape Breton repertoires, roaring reels and lilting jigs give way to haunting ballads and poignant eighteenth­-century waltzes. There is an exceptional variety of timbre for a duo, largely thanks to the multi-instrumental capabilities of both musicians. Will’s fluid and wildly inventive piping stands in balance with his powerfully rhythmic flute playing, and around it all swells Eric’s rich guitar and deftly played mandolin. Taken together, the sum is greater than its parts, making for a noteworthy debut of this lively new presence in the world of traditional music.

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