CD A0288: The Lucky Smile

The Lucky Smile by Rachel Hair

CD cover"The Lucky Smile", supported by the Scottish Arts Council, is the eagerly awaited follow up to Rachel's highly acclaimed solo album "Hubcaps and Potholes". Produced by respected musician Angus Lyon, the album features Rachel's trio of harp with acoustic guitarist Paul Tracey and double bassist Andy Sharkey, along with guest appearances including Gaelic singer Joy Dunlop, jazz violinst Graham McGeoch, drummer Scott Mackay and percussionist Paul Jennings. With an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary material, tinged with influences from genres ranging from jazz and funk to classical and bluegrass and her Scots-Irish heritage, "The Lucky Smile" showcases the harp as a lead band instrument allowing its vibrance and vitality to shine through with sparkle and poise.

Buy this album now    CD: £12.00 + p&p

Rachel Hair profile & discography

Audio Samples & Track Listings

The Lucky Smile

01. Back Home
02. Kilmartin Sky
03. Blue Hills of Antrim
04. Tsunami Jack
05. A Fhleasgaich Oig as Ceanalta
06. The Lucky Smile
07. I Lost my Harp in Barcelona
08. The Lochaber Gathering
09. Leis an Lurgainn
10. The Midge House Jigs

Notes and Credits

CD Notes

Rachel Hair - The Lucky Smile
Traditional and Contemporary harp music

1. Back Home (5.05)
The Greycoast Reel (Gordun Gunn MCPS/PRS) Flora Macdonald’s (Trad) Back Home at Onsbacken (Karen Tweed MCPS/PRS)
arr. Hair/Tracey/Sharkey/Mackay/Lyon

I was given the first reel by Caithness fiddler Gordun Gunn. while the second is a well-known traditional tune that I first played with Glasgow pianist Douglas Millar. Accordionist Karen Tweed taught me ‘Back Home at Onsbacken’ while I was performing with her 14-piece girl group Circa Compania.

2. Kilmartin Sky (4.32)
Kilmartin Sky (Rachel Hair PRS) Francie’s (Rachel Hair PRS)
arr. Hair/Tracey/Jennings
The ancient kingdom of Dalriada was formed in the first century by migrants tram the north-east at Ireland to the west of Scotland. Kilmartin Glen, in mid-Argyll. isa landscape of both great beauty and central importance to the ancient history of Scotland as it was here that the kings at Dal Riada were crowned. I wrote ‘Kilmartin Sky’ after a drive through this area on a beautiful summers night.

3. Blue Hills of Antrim (5.03)
(Trad) arr. Hair
Also known by its Irish title ‘Méiltí Cheann Dubhrann’, I first heard this beautiful air (originally a song) on the recording by Altan’s Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and Frankie Kennedy in the early 1980s. The Blue Hills surround the glens of Antrim. an area with close links to Argyll.

4.  Tsunami Jack (5.07)
(Rachel Hair PRS) arr. Hair/Tracey/Sharkey/Mckay/Jennings/Lyon/McGeoch
My Uncle Jack, born and bred in Glasgow, was a character and a half. Deaf in one ear, we always had to shout when he was around, It wasn’t until his eulogy that I learnt that his deafness had bean caused by an injury during a tsunami that struck Japan, where he was serving in the Second World War.

6. The Lucky Smile (3.05)
(Rachel Hair PRS) arr. Hair/Tracey/Sharkey/Mackay/Lyon
I wrote this 3-part slow reel several years ago while trying to adjust to life as a non-student. Having handed in my final essays and assignments, I discovered I had a lot at tree time on my hands so spent the days writing and playing music.

7. I Lost my Harp in Barcelona (3.10)
(Rachel Hair PRS) arr. Hair/Tracey/Sharkey/Jennings/Lyon
Written after an eventful trip to Barcelona with my harp: I arrived but the harp didn’t. Typically, it turned up an hour before I was due to leave.

8. The Lochaber Gathering (5.25)
The Lochaber Gathering (GS McLennon), New Year’s Day (Trad) The Graf Spree (trad)
arr. Hair

I love playing 2/4 pipe marches and ‘The Lochaber Gathering’ is a favourite of mine. ‘The Graf Spree’ is a popular Irish reel, which bears many similarities to ‘The Rothiemurchus Rant’, a Scottish strathspey which can be found in many published collections.

9. Leis an Lurgainn (3.19)
(Trad) arr. Hair/Dunlop/Lyon
This song tells the story of a Lochaber man and his stormy voyage to Ireland aboard the ship ‘The Lurgainn’.

10. The Midge House Jigs (5.02)
The Midge House (Rachel Hair PRS) Tune for the Boys (Rachel Hair PRS) Andy’s Salute (Rachel Hair PRS)
arr. Hair/Tracey/Sharkey/Mckay/Jennings/Lyon
Three jigs to finish off: one in tribute to a childhood tree house, one for Paul and Andy and one for Canadian friend and musician, Andy Hilihouse.



Harp — Rachel Hair
Guitar — Paul Tracey (tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 10)
Double Bass — Andy Sharkey (tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10)
Drums — Scott Mackay (tracks 1, 4, 6, 10)
Cajon & Percussion — Paul Jennings (tracks 2, 4, 5, 7, 10)
Vocals — Joy Dunlop (tracks 5, 9)
Harmonium & Rhodes — Angus Lyon (tracks 1. 4, 5)
Fiddle — Graham
McGeoch (track 4)

Produced by Angus Lyon
Engineered, mixed & mastered by lain Hutchison
Additional recording by Duncan Lyall
Recorded at Secret Music Studios. Woodlands, Glasgow
Mixed and mastered at Glo-Worm Studios, Knightswood. Glasgow
Artwork by Adam Rhodes
Cover Photo by lain Thomson

This project was supported by the Scottish Arts Council

Special thanks to: Angus and lain for their incredible hard work an this project. Paul T, Andy, Joy, Paul J and Graham for being such great musicians and great fun. Adam for his fantastic artwork and lain T. for being a great last minute photographer.

Thanks to: Mum, Dad, Ali, all the Glasgow family, all the Antrim family, The Scottish Arts Council, Sarah-Jane Summers, Anna Currie, Celtic Connections, Secret Music, Rita Hunter, Feis Rois, Sean Purser, Vic King, Douglas Miller, Peter Francie, Michael Rose, Karen Tweed and Circa Compania, all at Startish Designs.

Rachel plays harps made by Starfish Designs


Album Information

Instruments: Celtic Harp led band
Genre: Traditional / Contemporary
Format: CD
Our Ref: A0288
Label: March Hair Records
Year: 2009
Origin: EU