From :
6/24/2001 9:34:21 PM
Checked Out
Scantily Plaid, 'just checking in...'

Scantily Plaid
just checking in . . .
Independently produced
Information available from

Scantily Plaid is a recently-formed trio of Celtic musicians from the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, area comprising Doug Feaver on various percussion instruments, guitars, and harmonica; Ruth Sutherland on vocals and harp; and Bob Worrall on bagpipes and whistles. The group's first CD, just checking in . . ., is an independently-produced effort with some 15 tracks and a total of 66 minutes playing time.

Despite the independent nature of the recording, the CD is extremely well recorded and mixed, and every bit as good as something one would hear from a "big" Celtic label.

On the instrumental tracks, Bob Worrall's piping -- either on Highland pipes, Scottish reel pipes, or Scottish small pipes -- is central. Most of the instrumental work is clever and creative, and very well played. Worrall's natural rhythmic ability comes through nicely throughout, but on the fourth cut featuring a Breton march, a few strathspeys, and two reels, it's particularly good.

Despite being retired from competitive piping for over 20 years, Worrall never shies away from technical challenges. The group chooses both traditional and contemporary content, and Worrall's strong fingerwork could stand up against just about anything going today. Tackling recent, complicated stuff from Gordon Duncan ("Upside Down at Eden Court") or R.S. MacDonald ("Good Drying") is no problem.

The group takes its cue in several spots from several influences, particularly Anna Murray's Out of the Blue recording and her famous rendition of "Brenda Stubbert's Reel. The close emulation of the track is technically excellent, but a little more variation from the original might have sparked more interest.

The band's inclusion of the 1970s "concept rock" group Emerson, Lake & Palmer's "Lucky Man" is interesting too, and the track sticks out from the rest. It's difficult to make better, or, for that matter, make worse, this maudlin rock cliché, but Worrall's clever replacement of Keith Emerson's keyboards with Scottish small pipes is a true stroke of brilliance and even comic relief. Doug Feaver's lead vocals are every bit as good as Greg Lake.

It's the original stuff that's the best work on the CD. Ruth Sutherland has a wonderful voice that commands attention and evokes emotion, as in the opening reprise of "MacCrimmon's Lament" from an old Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band LP and "Piping Jamie," a very nice new song with a traditional feel from her own pen. Worrall's inclusion of R.S. MacDonald's "Margaret's Waltz" embellishes the track very well.

For a first effort, just checking in . . . is an impressive start from Scantily Plaid. Once this band compiles more original material, it will be even more enjoyable. Outside of Skyedance, you're unlikely to find a better assembly of Celtic musicians in North America.


Now for some new music, well, not actually new, it came out in 2010 but I didn’t learn of its existence until just recently. Scantily Plaid, a band from Canada, contains three of the most talented musicians you’d ever want to hear; Ruth Sutherland who plays wicked good harp and has a voice to make the angels envious, Doug Feaver who plays more instruments than I have clean socks and plays them all very well and Bob Worrall, one of the most accomplished and versatile pipers alive today. Their first CD “Just Checking In” came out a few years ago and was a tremendous hit. Ruth is a Gaelic singer of no small talent and, together with her multi-talented partners, they put out Scots trad music in new and exciting arrangements that certainly set the bar higher for other bands. Their new CD, “This One’s For You”, continues that tradition of fine music played right with Ruth’s lovely vocals as the icing on the cake. On the new recording they perform a great version of Dougie MacLean’s “Caledonia” and a fun version of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” plus some very impressive original pieces. All in all, a very impressive recording that I’ve been playing the grooves off of in the store.
Ruth Sutherland, whose lovely voice and expert harp add so much to Scantily Plaid’s sound, has produced a solo CD. Two scoops of her wizardry in this recording. For those of you who like good harp and good voice, this one’s for you (there’s a good title for a recording). “Bones & Runes”, Ruth’s solo offering, has very traditional music choices played in hauntingly contemporary arrangements. A great piece of work.
Lastly, two days after I finished my January column, we lost another member of the Rampant Lion Celtic Traders team when my Mom, Dorris Beth Baker died. She was instrumental in getting our business started and spent many a weekend in the early years working at festivals and later keeping an eye on the kids while Gayle and I worked. We have asked that anyone wishing to remember her should do so with a contribution to the Irish American Heritage Center. She was very proud of the IAHC and hoped that the good work done there would continue.
That’s it for this month. You can email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   Slainté

from Henderson's Bagpipes website

This One's for You - Scantily Plaid CD
This is the second recording from a group of very talented performers: Bob Worrall on pipes and whistles; Ruth Sutherland on harp and vocals; and Doug Feaver, on guitar, vocals, and percussion. The album offers a thoroughly satisfying mix of original compositions, traditional and contemporary arrangements, instrumentals, and songs. There's even a lovely version of the Beatles tune "Here Comes the Sun." June 2010.