Mairearad Green and Anna Massie know how to put on a show – they combine warmth, wit and banter with supreme musicianship to create an enjoyable, varied, and polished set. Their versatility is evident in the choice of songs. There are waltzes, Americana, jigs, reels, and a polka which have them singing and playing fiddle, guitar, banjo (Massie), accordion and Highland bagpipes (Green).
Pretty much a show for everyone – you'd have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy it
The show opens with a zippy instrumental, followed by another, Malteser Madness, latterly renamed in honour of Massie's preferred Scottish gin, rather than confectionery. Massie sings on the lovely Dougie MacLean number, She Loves Me; her voice is sweet and clear and a joy to hear. She dedicates the song to her mother, with a touching anecdote about homesickness on the road. Cape Breton reels, including two Jerry Holland tunes sandwiching a fiery Otis Tomas tune, which prompts Massie to tell us about meeting Tomas and asking him to make her a fiddle.
While gifted at all the instruments she plays tonight, Massie excels on guitar with a driving right hand. Her gutsy playing provides enough rhythm and the absence of drums or bass pose as no real lack. Nanci Griffith's Always Will, a slight song from the second series of Transatlantic Sessions, is a gentle interlude, allowing the audience to sing along, before the 'palate cleanser' of jigs, with Massie on banjo and Green taking up the pipes, playing with confidence and panache. Indeed, Green appears to be equally at home on both accordion and pipes. Michael Smith's tender Spoon River marks yet another tone-change, before a reel and a polka finish the show, with all the audience surely tapping along.
Massie and Green are clearly at the top of their game, with a honed and varied set. This would not, however, be so enjoyable an evening were it not for the gentle sparring between the two, and the affection for each other, the music, and the country and people who pepper their anecdotes. Pretty much a show for everyone – you'd have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy it.