FolkWorld Issue 39 07/2009

FolkWorld CD Reviews

Seamus Begley & Jim Murray "Éirí go lá"
Label: Own label; BMCD005421; 2009
Seamus Begley is a veteran box player from the famous Begley family from the Dingle peninsula in the west of Ireland. Guitarist Jim Murray replaced Steve Cooney as Seamus' duo partner. He was quite young when this duo started, adept already, now he is a veteran himself - so to speak. It took eight years to follow with another record after the "Ragairne" album from 2001. The duo has a liking for Sliabh Luachra music, and "Éirí go lá" kicks off with the polka set "Little Diamond/Kenmare/Johnny Leary's". There's more to come, of course slides as well, and the odd jigs, hornpipes, reels thrown in for good measure. All are trad arr except Jim Murray's jig set "A Slip of a Thing/Cáit's Facy". Seamus' box chops along with energy and drive, while Jim's backing is straight to the point. Seamus is no mean singer too, and he delights with the Gaelic ballads "Bhán Óig", "An Lon Dubh is an Chéirseach", "Tír na nÓg", and the English "Moutains of Pomeroy".
Walkin' T:-)M

Uiscedwr "Fish Cat Door"
Label: Yukka Records; YRCD04; 2009
First thing to learn is how to pronounce Uiscedwr. Just say the CD title "Fish Cat Door" by leaving out two consonants. Second thing is to get that this is not the run-of-the-mill folk music from Wales. The third album of Welsh fiddler and singer Anna Esslemont and Irish percussionst Cormac Byrne (cajon, bodhran), plus guitar player James Hickman and piano accordionist Karen Tweed is a hot mix of jazzy instrumental tunes and swinging folk pop songs (original songs and Jim Malcolm's "Neptune"). The tunes are mostly original, exhibiting more a Balkan touch than a Celtic one. Though there are kind of reels and the "Jolly Beggarman" hornpipe. It is contemporary folk music, a refined and innovative blend of traditions, performed by a charming and witty bunch of musicians. Whereas the song "Tip Tap Baby" is about a dancer who got the moves, but his heart doesn't know how to groove, Uiscedwr is just about the opposite. Check it out!
Walkin' T:-)M

Sofia Jannok "white (ceaskat)"
Label: DAT; 2007
Sofia Jannok is from Sámi origin, a folk living in the north of the three Scandinavian countries Sweden, Norway and Finland. She was brought up in Gällivare in the extreme north of Sweden in her mother tongue Sámi, a Uralic language spoken in Lapland. Her debut album “ceaskat” (white) features ten self-crafted songs, some of them composed together with her musicians, a cover version of the Norwegian electro-pop musician Ingor Antte Ailu-Gaup and “Mu moras”, a poet by the Finnish author Rauni Magga Lukkari brought to music by Georg Buljo, who also appears as co-writer and guest musician.
The line-up includes Svein Schultz (bass, programming), Herman Rundberg (vocals, programming, percussions), Stein Austrud (keyboards, vocals), Karl Oluf Wennerberg (drums, percussions) and Björn Charles Dreyer (guitars, vocals). Additional guest appearances on bass, percussions, keyboards and flutes complete the stirring sound.
Sofia has written three songs in English, translated by herself in Sámi; all the other songs are in the original language with English translation by Jannok, Marja Skum or Katja Anttonen. Starting off with the pulsating bass and Sofia’s crystal clear singing “Boade mu mielde” (come with me) invites us to join the hypnotising electro-pop that seems to be rooted to the wide and frosty plains of the north. Following up we can hear Sofia’s romantic ballads like “Manu Manna” (child of the moon), melancholic memories of her youth like on “Gahkkor” (the black-throated diver) as well as the terrific groove of Buljo’s “Mu moras” (my sorrow), which reminds me of Capercaillie’s less traditional period of the late nineties. Jannok and Buljo co-wrote the intoxicating rhythmic “Bahkka” (heat) followed by the beautiful a Capella performance on “Nastecalbmi” (star eye). Finally Sofia sings another co-composition with Buljo, ”Ija Salas” (in the arms of night). Smooth electric sounds, terrific rhythms and beautiful choir singing literary strokes your tympanum before, after a short break, Sofia performs some spellbinding a Capella Sámi singing.
Jannok is a beautiful young woman with an angelic voice and a brilliant songwriter. Together with her band and a few guests Jannock has recorded an album full of the most beautiful harmonies, great rhythms and hauntingly beautiful singing. I can’t wait to hear her new album (
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Johnny Coppin "The Winding Stair"
Label: Red Sky Records; 2005
Gloucestershire based Singer/Songwriter Johnny Coppin started his career in the 70ies with the folk-rock band Decameron. After four albums he left the band and started to play solo gigs. Since then he has released several albums and has been widely praised for his work.
His latest album “The Winding Stair” is named after the famous second hand bookshop in Dublin which unfortunately closed its door when the CD was released. The album features five compositions by Coppin, two traditional Irish songs and six cover versions.
The CD starts with “Reunion Hill”, a beautiful song by the American songwriter Richard Shindell. John Neilson on accordion, Phil Beer (Show of Hands) on violin and Mike Silver on guitar and backing vocals accompany Coppin’s wonderful singing. Silver also wrote the words for two songs. One of them, the rhythmic “Survival” is one of the highlights and features a brilliant acoustic guitar solo by Mick Dolan. The title track, written by Coppin, is a melancholic ballad to honour Kevin Conolly’s unforgettable bookshop and is brought forward by Coppin on guitar and Paul Burgess on recorder. Another melancholic song is the Irish traditional “Lakes of Coolfin”; Coppin plays piano and is accompanied by Burgess on recorder again. My favourite is the intoxicating “Susanna Martin” by John Allison and Claudine Languille, a song about the Salem Witch trials of 1692. Neilson on bouzouki, Burgess on violin as well as Silver and Coppin on guitars create a stirring rhythm and the singing is just breathtakingly beautiful. Add Scotland singer Karine Polwart’s tender song “The Sun’s coming over the Hill”, Gloucestershire based Martin Graebe’s ballad “From Severn by the Somme” and Coppin’s “The Fire kindled”, a poet by Gloucestershire born Ivor Gurney brought to music, and you’ll get a brilliant set-list for your living-room gig.
Johnny Coppin has released a hauntingly beautiful collection of songs from the British Isles to the New World. His singing is awe-inspiring and his song writing amazing, together with a bunch of gifted musicians he has recorded a brilliant CD.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Siusan O’ Rourke & Zig Zeitler "Immigrant Heart"
Label: White Crow Records; 2008
Siusan O’ Rourke & Zig Zeitler "The Usual Suspects"
Label: White Crow Records; 2008
Singer/Songwriter Siusan O’Rourke is from Irish origin; her grandmother came on March 14th 1909 from Arran Islands via Ellis Island to Brooklyn. 100 years later Siusan dedicates her new album „Immigrant Heart“ as well as the title track to her family and to all the generations of other immigrants, who dare to take the blind steps in faith.
Zig Zeitler is an excellent musician well known in the Blues and World music scene, for example with the Zydeco Cajun Band. It might be due to his influence that O’Rourke who usually makes Irish music recorded an Americana album, „The Usual Suspects“.
Siusan has a wonderful rich alto voice and plays guitar and Zig accompanies her on mandolin, banjo, bouzouki and harmonica. On a few selected tracks of the Americana album Jeff Schrems adds his upright bass.
But first about the Irish album, which offers six traditional songs and one tune, three original tracks and two cover versions. The melancholic title track and the stirring rhythmic “Stonewalls“ are brilliant samples of O’Rourke’s song writing. She sings the two cover versions a Capella; the tender „Hard Times“ has been written by Stephen Foster in the 19th century and the stirring „Lovely Agnes“ comes from Connecticut based songwriter Sally Rogers. These two performances are perfect showcases for O’Rourke’s hauntingly beautiful and perfectly trained singing. She also has an extraordinary feeling for rhythm and harmony. But we can also hear traditional ballads like „Auld Lang Syne“, rhythmic songs like „Fare thee well“ or the intoxicating instrumental track „Devil’s Dream“.
„Immigrant Heart“ is a great album offering traditional as well as modern Irish music, clearly bearing O’Rourke’s signature. Nevertheless I even prefer „The Usual Suspects“ which stands out with Zeitler’s more accentuated musical presence. Though he doesn’t upstage O’Rourke at all; far from it! His stirring Americana rhythms incite the singer to give her very best.
He dedicates the magnificent Bluegrass tune „Pasta Western“ to Siusan’s Italian Food loving father Joseph and proves that you can’t slow down a banjo player when he’s on the groove. In addition to Zeitler’s instrumental the duo recorded two traditional songs and nine self-crafted O’Rourke tracks. „One Meatball“ sang father Joseph to his little daughter Siusan as a lullaby; Siusan and Zig interpret the traditional song as a jazzy Blues track with harmonica, mandolin and guitar. „Softly and tenderly“ is a Gospel song, starting off as a soft ballad and later transforming by brilliant rhythm changes to an intoxicating spiritual. Faith is for Siusan, who recently finished her chemical treatment, an important theme. „Another Day“ she sings gratefully and 50 % of the income of the beautiful and thought provoking single goes to other survivors of cancer. „Everything you need“ is a catchy Country Blues, which urges us to frugality and „Purgatory Blues“ stands out with perfect playing together of guitar, upright bass and mandolin as well as with lyrical and passionate Blues singing. In „Up on Saginaw Bay“ Siusan sings about life in her home area where winter lasts eleven months.
The duo O’Rourke/Zeitler have released two albums that safeguard their leading position in Irish music and puts them in the limelight of the Americana scene.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Su Hart "Worth it after all"
Label: March Hare Publishing; 2007
Newcastle born singer and painter Su Hart has been travelling around the world since she attended the Art school in Oxford. She was busking, collecting songs and painting. Together with her husband Martin Cradick she formed the world music band Baka Beyond and end 2007 she released finally a solo album with twelve of her all time favourite songs. Su sings and plays guitar and together with her husband Martin (guitar, mandolin, backing vocals) she gathered a bunch of brilliant musicians to record an extraordinary album.
The CD starts with “The Singer” and Hart’s wonderful a Capella singing; later the Breton Baka Beyond fiddler Paddy Le Mercier and Glasgow Fiddler and harpist Fiona Fiddler join in to create a hypnotic performance. Two Baka members join in when Su sings the Lindisfarne song “United State of Mind”. Singer Eleanor Churchlow and African kongoma player Ayodele Scott accompany Su on guitar and Martin on mandolin. African rhythms are followed by the Caribbean groove of “Zombie Jamboree”, Leon Hunt’s terrific banjo playing and Stevie Holder on double bass. A romantic song by Captain Beefheart with Mercier on violin leads us back to Europe. Tim Edey on accordion and Ed Boyd on guitar create the mesmerizing sound of “Power of Prayer”, a sad song about the Vietnam boat people by Ged Beasley. Another Flook member, Brian Finnegan, plays the flute on the hauntingly beautiful Silly Wizard song “The Lament of the Fisherman's Wife”. Reggae rhythms (Listen to me), Calypso music by The Mighty Terror (TV Calypso) and Hart’s rhythmic title track, recorded live with some Baka friends to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s release complete the musical journey around the world.
The album is an outstanding collection of songs from all over the world and from different periods of time. Hart is a great singer and the musicians as well as the songs are all first class. It’s a different approach to world music than that of the Afro Celt Sound System, but certainly not a less intoxicating sound.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Fairport Convention "Fame and Glory"
Label: Matty Grooves Records; 2009
It was in 1967 when four young musicians played their first gig in a church hall somewhere in London. The guys used to rehearse in founding member Simon Nicol’s family house called Fairport and thus was borne the name of a band who has shaped the Folk-Rock scene for more than 4 decades.
“Fame and Glory” is a compilation from Alan Simon’s song trilogy “Excalibur” and two other concept albums about the Arthurian legend. From the first album “Excalibur, la légende des Celtes” to the latest release “Anne de Bretagne” the Breton composer Alan Simon has worked with Fairport Convention and some of today’s greatest musicians. The ten songs and five instrumental tracks have been recorded between 1998 and 2008 in different studios or Live all over Europe.
From the initial instrumental “Castle Rock” with Dave Mattacks on drums to the final song “The Soldier”, a solo performance by Chris Leslie on mandolin, the listener dives deep into Simon’s evocation of Celtic mythology. Leslie who also plays bouzouki and violin and Simon Nicol (guitars) sing “Pilgrims” together and Martin Barre (Jethro Tull) adds a beautiful guitar solo. Gerry Conway on percussions and Dave Pegg on bass create the intoxicating groove of “Celtic Dream”, another brilliant instrumental track recorded Live; Brian Finnegan on whistle, Alan Simon on flute and Ric Sanders on violin play the hauntingly beautiful harmonies. British folk singer Jacqui McShee enchants with her brilliant singing on “Morgane”, accompanied amongst others by fiddle player Didier Lockwood, Dan Ar Braz on guitar and Simon on flute, and “Sacrifice”, the latter featuring Andreas Vollenweider’s glamorous harp playing. John Helliwell (Supertramp) on saxophone and clarinet as well as the members of Flook are playing together with the band on the instrumental “Dragon Breath”, another highlight. John Wetton (King Crimson) sings the melancholic rock ballad “Lugh” featuring solos by Helliwell on clarinet and Barre on guitar. The title track is a hush and romantic song recorded Live by Nicol, Leslie and Lockwood and “Marie la Cordelière” a rhythmic song about a disastrous sea fight, sung by James Wood.
Simon’s music is a perfect showcase for these brilliant musicians headed by one of the most remarkable bands of the folk-rock scene. Unlike some other music veterans Fairport Convention manage to combine their own style with the innovative compositions of the visionary Breton composer. Without going astray from their musical roots they reinvent themselves and create a spell binding new sound.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Give Way "Lost in this Song"
Greentrax Recordings; 2009
1998 the four Johnson siblings, Amy (drums, percussion, vocals), Fiona (fiddle, guitar, vocals), Mairi (keyboards, vocals) and Kirsty (accordion, lead vocals), formed Give Way, a band that already won awards at the famous Celtic Connections and the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards.
This year they release their third album “Lost in this Song” with five instrumental sets, a traditional song and four cover versions, again produced by Phil Cunningham. Cunningham also adds his fine whistle playing and together with Ross Hamilton on bass and electric guitar and a three piece string section with Marie Campbell (viola), Robert McFall (violin) and Sua Lee (cello) they support the four charming ladies as guest musicians.
The CD starts with the romantic title track written by the Canadian songwriter Eric Angus Whyte. Kirsty has a crystal clear voice that seems to float over the musical background and the beautiful backing vocals like a butterfly. Mairi adds her lovely piano playing, Kirsty the accordion and Fiona plays the acoustic guitar. Vivien Scotson’s “This one’s on you” and Gerry O’Beirne’s “Western Highway” are beautiful samples of Scottish respectively Irish song writing brilliantly brought forward by the band. Although Kirsty’s singing is gorgeous and the songs well chosen I even prefer the instrumental tracks.
Fiona is a brilliant fiddler and wrote several of the tunes like the melancholic slow air “Violets” or the stunning “Flipperfoot the Mugger”. The instrumental set “Lofty’s” is a perfect showcase for Fiona’s fiddling and Kirsty’s accordion playing backed by the intoxicating rhythm of Amy and Ross. “Zander the Salamander” includes two stirring reels by Donald Shaw (Capercaillie) including the famous “Rob Roy Reel” and is my favourite instrumental set. The “Beginning Set”, a pure Scottish set with tunes by Sandy Brechin, Phil Cunningham and Allan MacDonald, stands out with funky rhythms by Amy, Hamilton’s groovy bass and Kirsty’s virtuoso accordion playing.
The final traditional song “The Water is wide” is a melancholic song featuring Cunningham on whistle and the string section. Thus ends an album full of the most beautiful harmonies, brilliant singing and inspired instrumental sets. Have a listen, I’m sure you gonna like it.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Soothsayers "One more Reason"
Label: Red Earth Records; 2009
Soothsayer - A seer, a person who can supposedly see into the future a story teller with a futuristic vision.
Soothsayers - A group of musicians playing a fusion of nu Afro beat and dub; a cultural collision created by movement of people; music with vision and a message; music for all people from all cultures and nations.
You can read when you go to the homepage of the Soothsayers, a bunch of brilliant musicians from Brixton. There’re Idris Rahman (tenor sax, vocals), Robin Hopcraft (trumpet, flugel, vocals), Zoe Rahman ((Keyboards), Phil Dawson and Derek Johnson (guitars), Kodjovi Kush (bass), Patrick Illingworth (drums), Flink and Satin Singh (percussion), Julia Biel and Lucky Ranku (vocals). Together with exquisite guest singers and musicians they have recorded their new album “One more Reason”, a mix of 14 excellent Raga, Reggae, Dub and Afro Beat songs and tunes.
A short instrumental Dub intro leads us to the first rhythmic Raga song with great saxophone, trumpet and piano sounds, “Music”. And that’s what you’re gonna hear if you listen to the CD. Rahman and Hopcraft keep playing terrific solos and the perfect rhythms underlay their beautiful voices. Jamaican legend Johnny Clarke sings “Bad Boys” and five excellent voices distinguish “Slow Down”; Julia, Idris, Robin, Adesose Wallace and Mellow Baku go for a incredibly jazzy Raga. Michael Prophet sings the soulful ballad “Tears of Sorrow” and “Irie” is a perfect showcase for Mellow Baku’s breathtaking voice; Jazz meets Wica chanting to African Beats. Reggae sound by Bob Skeng and Djina Jones like on “Mama said” is followed by “River Effra”, an instrumental bluesy Raga Beat, and Linval Johnson’s chant “History”, accompanied by terrific African beats. And finally the CD ends with two more extraordinary jazzy Dub tunes.
For me this is one of the best Reggae/Raga albums I’ve heard for a while. You will hear tremendous beats, beautiful singing and jazzy sounds and you will relax and slow down.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Carolyn Currie "Waves of Silence"
Label: North C Records; 2009
Born in England Carolyn Currie grew up in Massachusetts and began very early to sing, play the guitar and write songs. In 1995, after having stopped her academical career, she moved to Seattle and released her debut album “No Heroes”. 14 years later she recorded her fourth album “Waves of Silence”, featuring eleven new songs, with producer, keyboard and accordion player David Lange and his friends: Hanz Araki (shakuhachi, pennywhistle, Irish flute), Roberta Downey (cello), Paul Elliott (fiddle), Mark Ivester (percussion), Dan Mohler (fretless bass) and John Morton (electric guitar).
Currie sings with a hauntingly beautiful whispery voice about love, peace and daring acts as well as about daily troubles, loss and the horror of war; starting off with “Rain”, a tender and thoughtful ballad about the Iraq war with Lange’s fine piano playing. “Don’t run with Scissors” she demands the listener and with a twinkle in the eye and the awesome sound of fiddle, Irish flute, and acoustic guitar she finally admits to be a mocking bird with a sensational voice. She’s pondering about loneliness and sings “Hello Silence”, accompanied by the soft bass and guitar playing, wonderful cello and fiddle harmonies and rhythmic percussion sound. Her timbre and her technique sometimes remind me of Karan Casey, the great Irish singer; especially when she sings about a great loss on “After”, a pretty Irish tune. “Kaleidoscope” is a playful song about being a singer/songwriter with great playing together of cello and guitar and “Hot for a House” a bluesy, sexy and humorous song about a couple’s life. Another favourite is “Rolling Thunder”, a dramatic anti-war song with fine percussion and subtle electric guitar work.
The new album is a terrific collection of beautiful self-crafted songs of the now again in Maine based singer/songwriter with the lovely voice. Beautiful arrangements by Lange and excellent musicianship make her music a real gem.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Deirdre Scanlan "Faces"
Label: Own label; 2008
Deirdre Scanlan was born in Monagea Parish, County Limerick, and her singing obviously is strongly influenced by the West Limerick song tradition. On her new album “Faces” Deirdre recorded, together with a bunch of brilliant guest musicians, ten songs in English as well as in the Irish language. In addition to flute and whistle magician Michael McGoldrick and master fiddler Dezi Donnelly, who started their career together back in 1980 in Manchester, we can hear Martin Leahy (North Cregg) on percussion, James Blennerhassett on double bass, Seamus Brett on piano, Derek Hickey on accordion, Tony O’Flaherty on soprano saxophone and Hammond organ, Fergal O’Murchu on backing vocals and last but not least producer Jim Murray on guitar and vocals.
It starts off with Michael on Irish flute and the tender song “Faces of Friends”. Deirdre has a rather low pitched voice and sings mostly lyrical traditional ballads, perfectly accompanied by guitar, piano and bass with excellent interludes on accordion, flutes, whistles or fiddle. The simple but perfect arrangements are the hallmark of Scanlan’s music, so the Irish song “Deoraiocht” stands out with soft accompaniment on accordion, guitar and piano while “The Banks of Feale” is a perfect showcase for McGoldrick’s gifted playing. “The Legend” is brought forward by Scanlan with dramatic singing and “The Scholar” is the only really rhythmic song with inspired percussion work and Deirdre’s great singing. Soprano saxophone and piano play the introduction to the second Irish song “Sean o duibhir a ghleanna”, a hauntingly beautiful melancholic ballad.
The album is a beautiful collection of songs and ballads, brought forward by some of Ireland’s and England’s most gifted musicians and one of Ireland’s best singers. I can recommend it to all who love Irish songs with authentic arrangements and interpretation.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Lucie Thorne "Black Across the Field"
Label: Little Secret/Vitamin Records; 2009
Lucie Thorne grew up in Northern Tasmania, an island south west of Australia. Today she lives in the tiny village of Bimbaya, North South Wales where she finished the recordings of her latest album “Black across the Field”. Thorne sings and plays the guitar and she had recorded the ten self crafted songs together with co producers Hamish Stuart (drums, percussion) and Dave Symes (electric and double bass) in only three days in a Sydney studio. Then she invited piano and keyboard players Chris Abrahams and Stu Hunter, guitar players Stephen Magnusson and Heath Cullen as well as singers Robyn Martin and Kim Dellavedova to her home to make some additional recordings.
With her warm and beautiful voice Thorne whispers “As you find it”, a soft ballad featuring Abrahams on keys. Beautiful guitar picking, stunning bass lines and cool rhythms accompany her wonderful singing. “Alice”, a stirring Rock ballad, stands out with heavy guitar licks by Magnusson, great drum playing and Thorne’s hypnotising singing. Then again Thorne sings a tender ballad accompanied by three guitars and piano, “Northern Town”. “Under the Night” combines elements of rock music with jazzy and bluesy influences, certainly one of the highlights. Another one is “Please don’t let’s begin”, a ballad with great finger picking and jazzy bass lines. “The basic Rules” is a rhythmic song with Hunter on keys and the final melancholic “Open Sky” is a hauntingly beautiful solo performance.
Lucie Thorne’s 8th album is a terrific sample of Indie-Folk-Rock featuring excellent musicians. She has a breathtaking voice and her fine guitar playing is a feast for the ears.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Steve James "Short Blue Stories"
Hobemian Records; HB013; 2008; 54 min
This album from folk blues picker Steve James starts out spare, with almost spoken lyrics and tasty blues licks courtesy of James’ resonator guitar. You really have the feeling that James is speaking to you with his clear diction, fitting with the idea of stories from the album’s title. The stories he tells range from the qualities of folk radio to “Why The Blues Don’t Worry Me” (James sings “looks like the blues has come back in style”). “The Right Thing To Do” muses on the relative merits of hard work, drinking and gambling. James’ resonator guitar fills in the bittersweet gaps in the lyrics and tells its own blue story–which is unfortunately much too short.
Gabe McCaslin

Little Green "Crossing Lanes"
Label: Rootsy; 2008; 40 min
This album of country-infused pop features mainly laid-back vocals and smooth arrangements of horns, fiddle, mandolin and banjo. The Swedish band Little Green doesn’t quite commit itself to what it does, though the album is no less professional and listenable for it. I found myself waiting for that little kick, something unexpected in the arrangement or vocals, but it never came. Still, Little Green provides solid country-pop that stands on its own.
Gabe McCaslin

Ballycotton "Jenseits vom Ende der Zeit"
Label: Own label; 2009; 60 min
Ballycotton, the Austrian fantasy-folk band, has a variety of well-played tunes on their new album, “Jenseits vom Ende der Zeit” (“Beyond the End of Time”), that mix folk styles from all over the world. The sounds of the violin, guitar, mandolin, accordion and vocals are well suited to each other and the dynamic changes between haunting melody and driving rhythm are always pace-quickening or coolly transfixing. This accomplished band makes blending folk styles into a seamless otherworldly tapestry seem easy. Long-time fans of the band won’t be disappointed, and Ballycotton’s enchanting sound will definitely draw in new listeners.
Gabe McCaslin

Randy Granger "A Place Called Peace"
Label: Own label: DM3704; 2008; 35 min
Meditative flute melodies, percussive steel drum tones and pulsing soft drumbeats punctuate this new age album from Southwest musician Randy Granger. Granger’s Native American heritage provides much of his inspiration, as does his frequent time in the wilderness. His background in many styles of music and experience with various bands and musical projects give his compositions a broad palette of sounds and rhythms. Among these are the mellow tones of the metal hang drum, which allow a fusion of rhythm and melody. Granger’s album combines traditional Native American sounds and a modern grounding in jazz and rock, but stays well in the softer range. A good addition to the CD collection for the new age crowd.
Gabe McCaslin

Trinitude "Rooted"
Label: Own label: QF0108; 2008; 42 min
The Vancouver Island-based “Trio with Attitude” is a group connected by family ties and a devotion to what they call celtic-flavored roots music. Their songs deal with the experiences of Canadian immigrants as well as with the family’s own roots in Canada. With instruments ranging from droning fiddles to the wailing uillean pipes, the songs are often backed by the group’s trio of strong voices. This quality self-produced album is a great introduction to a group with an attitude to match their musical feeling.
Gabe McCaslin

Spring Creek Bluegrass Band "Rural and Cosmic Bluegrass"
Label: Own label; RC2006; 2008
Spring Creek Bluegrass Band "Lonesome Way to Go"
Label: Own label; RC2008; 2008
This fine band mixes watertight vocals, crisp instrumentals and modern as well as traditional takes on bluegrass tunes and songs. The only thing I don’t quite understand is the “cosmic” part. Spring Creek does indeed take the music in a new direction, as in their version of “Clinch Mountain Freak Out” and Welch and Rawlings’ “Caleb Meyer”, but most of all their devotion to tasty bluegrass in all shapes and sizes comes through, whether they are spicing it up with modern harmonies or letting that good old lonesome sound speak for itself. Compositions by all four of the band members shine alongside older traditionals. All bluegrass fans will want this album.
In contrast to “Rural and Cosmic Bluegrass” (2006), Spring Creek’s “Lonesome Way To Go” (2008) keeps slightly more to the traditional sound of bluegrass. Again, all four bandmembers have written tasteful songs and arrangements for the album, and don’t fail to convince alongside the old standbys. Another impeccable bluegrass bonanza from Spring Creek.
Gabe McCaslin

Di Naye Kapelye "Traktorist"
Oriente; RIEN CD 69; 2008
An interesting topic that the band has chosen: to put a love song to the work and one’s tractor in the center of a CD. The outcome ist a variety of forgotten, unforgotten and new musical pieces with exotic instruments such as the “stroh fiddle” (a fiddle that uses a metal mouth piece instead of the wooden body, named after Johannes Matthias Augustus Stroh who developped it 1899 in London, and that is still used in Romanian folkmusic). Accordingly, the music sometimes sounds a bit archaic.
The CD starts powerfully with the Carpathian drum, the following songs are in a quieter fashion with cimbalom and fiddle. What I like most, is the Hasidic musar nign, sung by special guest Michael Alpert together with the thirteen-year-old son of the singer and fiddler of the band with its typical chorus. The booklet contains nice pictures of the band.
Christian Zastrow

V/A [Samplers, EP's & Demo CD's]

Diskreetse Mango Trio "Mehed mis te mind meelitate" (Single): Ancient Estonian runo song "Guys, Why Are You Flattering Me" by a band from Tallinn (-> FW#34). Both in the D.M. Trio's characteristic 1970's rock music style and as 'death-beat' remix.

Dan Milner "Irish Pirate Ballads and Other Songs of the Sea" (Smithsonian Folkways, SFW40553, 2009): Dan Milner (-> FW#20), Irish-American singer, scholar and member of The New York Packet, the official maritime song group of New York City's South Street Seaport Museum, presents Irish sea songs. He assembled an impressive crew to undertake the voyage from the west coast of clare to shores of Amerikay, including Joanie Madden (-> FW#10), Tim Collins (FW#31), Brian Conway (FW#37), Mick Moloney (FW#32), and Susan McKeown (FW#29).,

V/A "The Navvy's Wife" (WildGoose, WGS3601CD, 2008): Album acompanying the folk opera by Mick Ryan, celebrating the men and women who built Britain's canals, railways and motorways. The story is carefully researched, the songs work best in the context of the musical instead standing for themselves. While mostly original tunes you might notice some traditional borrowings (e.g. "I'll Tell Me Ma").,

V/A "Fairy World V Part. 1": Compilation of the French Prikosnovenie label (-> FW#35), featuring Faroese Valravn (-> FW#39), Bulgarian Irfan (FW#37), German Sava (FW#38), and 10 other tracks from all over Europe. The weird, beautiful world of fantasy folk for Tolkien fans.

V/A "This is Navigator Records": Compilation of the British Navigator label, featuring Lau (-> FW#38), Bellowhead (FW#38), Heidi Talbot (FW#35), John McCusker (FW#26), Faustus (FW#28), Spiers and Boden (FW#36), Aidan O'Rourke (FW#37), Kris Drever (FW#33), and others. Folk, trad, songwriting from the British Isles. A very recommended record label.

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