Brobdingnagian Bards Gullible's Travels (Mage)
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., June 30, 2000
Gullible's Travels (Mage)The Bards' first local album, Marked by Great Size, was released only last fall, and the wordplay between the album name and band name was fair warning that there's a goodly amount of whimsy within. That's even more the case with their late-spring second release, teasingly titled Gullible's Travels. Bards Marc Gunn and Andrew McKee make medieval music for modern times, and they do it with as much passion as good humor. There are five lovely and atmospheric instrumental originals ("Maidens Dance," "Shepherd's Serenade," "Lay," "Tolkien," and bonus track 88 "Mendeluvium Madness") strewn among the 15 tracks plus Trevor Jones' "The Kiss" from Last of the Mohicans. Tips of the fool's cap to traditional Celtic folk are found on "Wild Mountain Thyme," "Johnny Jump Up," "Wild Rover," and "Irish Lullabye (Too-ra-loo-ra-li)," the latter tune guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of even the hardest of hearts. Armed with autoharp, recorder, and mandolin, Gunn and McKee continue their lo-fi approach to this seemingly simple style of music, trading vocals as easily as moods. "The Scotsman" is another Renaissance Fair staple, a clever musing on just what Scotsmen wear under the kilt, while "King's Song" is really "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" and leaves you wondering just which "king's" song it is. What makes the Bards unique is that their love of folk is pure and uncompromised by the demands of a full band or major label. They seem content pleasing themselves and making that good enough for the rest of us to enjoy too. Not a bad place for a couple of Bards.