Despite the name The Mad Ferret Band are a Scottish duo comprised of Chris Woods and Sandy Stirton who hail from Perth and Kinross but what they lack for in numbers they certainly make up for in their delivery and stage presence. They played The Danny Kyle Stage at this year’s Celtic Connections delivering a hi-energy mix of traditional and contemporary Folk that would be well suited to a late night pub session or festival set when the crowd are wanting to burn off their last ounce of energy.
Last month they released their debut studio album A Rare Swally on which they expand their sound with the aid of David MacFarlane on Fiddle and Greame Peters on Side/Snare Drum. They use this to best effect on tracks like Molly sounding not dissimilar to The John Langhan Band. Other comparisons sprung to mind during the course of the album including the late Alistair Hulett and his gravel-edged vocals when they get into the full swing of the nautical Yard of Ale.
Their slower numbers take a page from The Dubliners (Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly era) on the likes of The Last Tavern Waltz and The Leaving of Liverpool, songs that really need a crowd sing-a-long something they often do a good job of re-creating themselves on the album.
There are some well placed instrumentals throughout which allow the duo to show of their string prowess with the likes of Black Market Beansprouts making use of minimal echo effects, a distant cousin of Shooglenifty and Real Ale Reels which is loaded with an afterburn that scorches away to next pub at the albums close where the party will no doubt carry on.
After hearing the studio album it left me with no doubt that whilst it’s a good album to showcase their breadth of sound and influences they are a band that are crying out to be seen and heard live and there are plenty of opportunities to do so! Check their numerous live dates on their website’s tour page.