Into the Scottish Fold

Photo by John Slavin
Photo by John Slavin

Some bands like to record new albums as quickly as possible to create cohesiveness. But in the case of the traditional Scottish folk group Battlefield Band and its 2013 release, Room Enough For All, the band took a different tactic.

“We got together for a couple of weeks here or there and kept working on it,” says Mike Katz, who plays everything from bass guitar to Highland pipes for the group. “This gave us time to revise ideas or come up with other ideas based on what we had recorded previously. Also, we were fairly fresh each time, thus giving ourselves more energy and a different feel each time we entered the studio.”

This willingness to come back to tracks with fresh eyes gives this album — the band’s 23rd studio release — the freshness and diversity that oozes from its every corner. “In Contempt” is a gorgeously somber folk ballad about prisons and how nature still tries to grow in spite of such desolate locations. On the other end of the spectrum is “Bagpipe Music,” which uses upbeat melody, charming vocal harmonies and whimsical lyrical sensibilities that are sure to make you smile. Such diversity is a reflection of the band’s values and the variety of performers who have played a part over the band’s almost 50-year history.

“The purpose of the band is to reflect the richness of the aspect of Scottish culture which is traditional music,” Katz says. “This being the case, each member represents their own stylistic interpretation on this national identity and this itself reflects that cultural richness.”

Battlefield Band plays 7:30 to 9:30 pm Thursday, April 10, at The Shedd; $12.50-$29.

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