Clyde’s Water Fiona Ross with Tony McManus Tradition Bearers Singer Fiona Ross’s clear-as-a-mountain-stream enunciation and acoustic guitar maestro Tony McManus’s crisp fingerpicked lines blend like vintage scotch whisky on their debut collaboration. The expat Scots, who call Australia and Canada home respectively, put their spin on traditional Caledonian folk in consummate fashion, aided by judicious contributions from compatriot John McCusker’s fiddling, in a well-engineered and produced Shane O’Mara recording out of Melbourne. Launched at Victoria’s National Celtic Festival in June, Clyde’s Water showcases the richness and diversity of the Scots’ song and ballad canon. Swathed in warm Scottish brogue and immaculate phrasing, the quality of Ross’s singing is exemplified by the set’s sole unaccompanied track, The Seasons. McManus’s intricate and innovative guitar playing, described by champion Aussie string-bender Tommy Emmanuel as “beyond beautiful”, is characteristically impeccable — inspired in the duo’s closing rendition of My Ain Kind Dearie O, a poem reworked by its creator, the immortal Robert Burns, to produce a moving love song in which melancholy and joy are intertwined. Several tunes will be familiar to non-Scots. The melody that accompanies Glaswegian “weelkent” love song The Bleacher Lass o Kelvinhaugh, for example, will be more readily associated with Moreton Bay by aficionados of Australian bush balladry.