Releases > Releases June 2022

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After the Sky Weeps
Own Label, 10 Tracks, 39 Minutes
Casey Murray (cello, guitar, and banjo) and Molly Tucker (fiddle) spread their musical wings in their debut, After the Sky Weeps. Both classically trained, Casey and Murray have taken their love for Celtic, New England, and Old Time styles to mix original and favourite tunes. Joining them on a few tracks are Jenna Moynihan (Barry Dudley fiddle, harmonium; duo with Mairi Chaimbeul) and Yann Falquet (guitar; duo with Pascal Gemme).
Casey and Molly open with their “first co-written” tune named after a spider plant called Wilbur’s March, followed by a banjo-focused set, First Parking Ticket (Casey)/Newcastle (John Playford). Track #3 highlights a trio of the duo’s favourite dance tunes, Turtle in the Grass (Ariel Friedman)/Mariposa (Jeremiah McLane)/Da AuldFoula (trad. Shetland).
The duo, along with Yann, provide their harmonic rendition of a sweeping Bob McQuillen melody called Eugenia’s Waltz. One can easily imagine lumbering beasts gathering together in Casey’s banjo tune, Caribou Party. Jenna joins the duo in Molly’s light, airy tune, Cottonwood. Sweat Machine (Molly)/Tomato Trails (Casey) are a lively set perfect for a warm summer’s day.
Still Together (Molly)/Sweet Lights (Casey/Molly) combines reflections of gathering creatively and a sunset walk in Oberlin, Ohio. After the Sky Weeps (Casey) is a slow-moving, hymn-like tune, providing hope during dark times. The duo, alongside Jenna, closes with another set of dynamic tunes, Murmurations (Casey and Molly)/The Road to Glountane (Terry Teahan). After the Sky Weeps provides a concise representation of the synergistic energy these up-in-coming artists have to offer to audiences worldwide!
Anita Lock

Róisín ReImagined
Own Label, 12 Tracks, 64 Minutes
This is a remarkable achievement on every level, from the audacious sweep of the project since its conception to realisation, to the scale of the undertaking, to its financing, and the imagination and bravery required to open up Sean-Nós to orchestration and a non-Irish speaking audience. Each element is a triumph; congratulations to Muireann and Dónal O’Connor (who also produced the album) for all they have accomplished.
Thanks also to the visionaries at the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Kilkenny Arts festival who jointly commissioned leading Irish composers: Cormac McCarthy, Paul Campbell, Linda Buckley, Sam Perkin, Niamh Varian-Barry and Michael Keeney, to re-imagine Ireland’s ancient songs afresh.
There are twelve songs on the album, two of which Muireann has sung on her previous recordings, ‘S ar Maidin Moch is mé ar mo Leapain Bhoig was on Ar Uair Bhig an Lae/The Small Hours and Slán le Máigh on her Daybreak/Fáinne an Lae opus. Those recordings offer a useful benchmark, and are a halfway house between pure Sean-nós and the orchestrated magnificence of Róisín ReImagined.
On this recording the ICO is augmented by a group of traditional musicians: Dónal O’Connor on fiddle and harmonium, Aisling Ennis on harp, Cormac McCarthy on piano, Caitríona Frost on percussion and Mick O’Brien on pipes. His uilleann pipes are glorious on the opening track Róisín Dubh, appearing half way through the work adding a wide screen dimension to the power of the music.
The orchestra often builds a deep under score to Muireann’s voice, as on the agile An tSeanbhean Bhocht, where the track is anchored by cellos. The bodhrán is to the fore at the start of the macaronic song Cailín na nÚrla Donn. Catch the upbeat fun, with piano and big washes of strings on Tá mo Mhadra Medley.
Those strings shift to pizzicato on Mollaí San Seoirse, bowed in the second half they supply a lyrical coda to the work. More space is given to the melodic music on the final track An Chúilfhionn; that is the closest the album comes to the seminal work of Sean O’Riada in the 1960s, a nice nod to the roots of re-imagining the Irish tradition.
The album will be performed live at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August. There’s just one caveat, due to global vinyl supply shortage, the vinyl is expected in October 2022. If you order in advance Muireann will send you a free download in the meantime. The album is available as a CD or MP3 and will be on all streaming platforms soon. In fact we had the MP3 download to review and the quality is outstanding, no need to wait until the autumn to get your hands on Róisín ReImagined.
Seán Laffey

Own Label, 9 Tracks, 31 Minutes
Multi-instrumentalist Karl Nesbitt, plays flute, low whistle, bouzouki, bodhrán, key bass, keyboards and percussion. He is a member of the famous musical family from Tipperary. The Tip in the county title is the anglicised form of Tiobraid; a general term for a well of sweet water and Karl has sounded the deep depths of his lifetime of music to create this album of original compositions.
As I noted in our interview with Karl I hear echoes of a Clan March in March of Time, the classic big house tradition of the retained bard of the 17th century in Then One Day, even more so on Lady Coran, whilst we skip three centuries forward to the 1970s for some Detroit infused funk flute in Find Your Way.
Karl’s ability to pack a huge amount of music into a short time slot is exemplified on Project 7, where he is joined by Paul Booth on saxophones, piano, alto flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, Noel Barrett on bass and Richard Spaven who plays drums. With that instrumentation, there’s no surprise that the piece has a Moving Hearts vibe. It may have the feel of a Hearts classic but Karl’s music is his own, it is neither pastiche nor parody.
Traditional string players looking for inspiration and new tunes to learn would do well to consider Karl’s Lady Coran and Then One Day, both richly resonant pieces of finger style playing. The final track Shout Out begins with a piano before segueing into an electronic keyboards and a cymbal splashed back beat, a foil for Karl to treat us to his rolling flute playing, the work then moving to a fiddle interlude as the band takes over the show ready for Karl’s flute to return and bring the work to a satisfying conclusion.
You can hear the full album at his Bandcamp page, which will be revisited by me; I just can’t get enough of Then One Day.
Seán Laffey

Coiscéim Coiligh / As the Days Brighten
Gael Linn CEFCD218, 12 Tracks, 50 Minutes
After 21 years on the road Téada are the complete package, entertaining and stylish, they have that rare thing in any branch of music, a distinctive voice. That has come from the very stable line up of Oisín Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Paul Finn (accordion), Damien Stenson (flute), Seán Mc Elwain (guitar) and Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán). Another factor is their long-standing relationship with Gael Linn Records that has allowed them free artistic reign, the label trusting Téada to do the tradition proud with every recording.
Like the first reel in their opening set Ar Mhuin na Muice we find Téada on the pig’s back. A third of the selections are jigs, with Stenson’s flute to the fore on track 6, The Women of Monaghan, Nancy Hynes’, Tap the Barrel. Track 9 includes one of the quirkiest titles for a jig yet, The Cauliflower (or as Mark Twain might have called it a college educated cabbage).
Dingle native Séamus Begley, sings a song from his home place Dhún an Óir. He travels to the opposite Munster coast for Eochaill; the tune was played by Philip Goodman, the last professional and traditional piper in Farney, Louth, at the Feis Ceoil in Belfast in 1898. I was moved to find one of my father’s all-time favourites featured as track 3, The Snowy Breasted Pearl; the piano accompaniment here is perfect.
Then there is that other singer guesting on Eileen Óg, none other than Hollywood actor John C. Reilly, a bit of Irish American showbiz glitz will do the Téada cause no harm. The band suggesting the haughty entrance of that unreachable beauty in the opening bars before John C.’s tenor adding the comic contrast of the constantly rejected everyman.
There are happy tunes in abundance here, lift, laughter and joy, but shade too, the contrast of one complimenting the radiance of the other. Téada end the album with a full-on ensemble. Samantha Harvey’s piano adding yet more bounce to a bevy of reels: Paddy Ryan’s Dream, The Windy Roads of Advance, Danny Meehan’s, Tim Fitzpatrick’s.
After twenty-one years together there seems to be no end to the pleasure Téada find in making music. Their selections sound fresh, their energy levels are high, and yes you could say, Téada are on the pig’s back and loving every minute of it.
Seán Laffey

Own Label, 13 Tracks, 43 Minutes
Enda Reilly is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Dublin, based in Michigan, USA since 2019. His original songs have been acclaimed and recognised with awards, but on this album, he mainly pays homage to some of the gems from the great Irish and Scottish songbook. His approach here is to perform each song with just vocals and guitar, pure and unadorned. His style is gentle and reflective, never forced.
All Along the Wild Atlantic Way is the opener, which he co-wrote with Aoife Scott. It’s instantly appealing, and has all the hallmarks of a memorable song with a great chorus. For the rest of the album, Reilly selects some of his favourites and carefully strips them back to the core, identifying the very heart of each song. The Lakes of Pontchartrain references the classic versions from the past, but Enda invests it with his own stamp as well. He even tackles the iconic Danny Boy and presents it from a new perspective with an occasionally staccato vocal which eschews the bombastic versions of the past. His interpretations are understated and sparse, exposing the core.
Mairseáil Saighdúra (The Soldier’s March) is a delightful instrumental piece on solo guitar, and there is a gorgeous take on The Foggy Dew, for which he uses DADGAD tuning to great effect, as he really gets invested in this beautiful lament. Another highlight is his version of Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia, the only other non-traditional song on the recording. The classic Scottish poem My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose is performed to a simple drone accompaniment, while the closing track The Parting Glass is acapella.
Overall, this album is an intriguing alternative look at some of our best-loved classic songs, which really inspires the listener to re-evaluate them and enjoy some new perspectives on their significance.
Mark Lysaght

Own Label, 12 Tracks, 57 Minutes
A French group with two decades on the clock and an all-consuming affair with Irish music; this album’s dozen tracks highlights their prowess and panache with Irish dance music and their love of English language folk song. Their name derives from the Irish traveller tongue, Shelta; they are based in the Rhone-Alps region of France.
The core band is Tania Buisse (bodhran), Julien Cartonnet (banjo, uilleann pipes, whistles), John Delorme (fiddle, vocals, guitar), Fabien Guiloineau (guitar, Irish bouzouki) and Guy Vesvre (diatonic accordion). A solid traditional line up who play with great articulation, integrity and authenticity. For this 20th anniversary celebration the line-up is expanded with guests: founding members from twenty years ago François Baubet (flute), Romain Chéré (flute, mandolin), Tiennet Simonnin (accordion, uilleann pipes) and from Limerick Ronan Ryan (flute).
They have fully absorbed the Irish style of playing, evident from the initial track on the disk, the jig set Princess Nancy. They have a penchant for reels with rollicking versions of The Old Train Station, Gooseberry Bush, Trip to Durrow and Mayor Harrison’s Fedora (here a set dance and reel combination). They take the pace down on a couple of slower numbers, a slow air from the repertoire of Johnny O’Leary, and Rocking the Boat Waltz, they also offer The Merry Sisters as a slowed down reel.
The whole is punctuated by some fine songs from the heyday of the ballad scene, such as Ewan MacColl’s tale of traveller culture Thirty Foot Trailer (apt given the band’s name). One to pour over is their version of Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore, a version well worth learning as it contains some different words to the Paul Brady classic that circulates frequently at home. The instrumental break in this number is stunning. Indeed their ability to transition between tunes is a highlight of their playing.
Shelta has set the bar very high, and they would not be out of place on any Irish festival bill anywhere in the world. They have the nyah, the swing and the syncopation to get your feet dancing. Visit their website and listen to a medley clip, you’ll be impressed.
Seán Laffey

Own Label BH002, 13 Tracks, 52 Minutes
With her heart in the Donegal tradition and her head full of tunes from all over Ireland and beyond, Bríd Harper is one of the finest fiddlers of her generation. Late to the recording studio, she’s been making up for lost time since her debut album a few years back, collaborating with various musicians and forming the band Uaine. Now we have a second solo CD, a treat for the ears indeed. Inis combines classic tunes with a wide selection of modern Irish compositions, one or two Scottish pieces, and four of Ms Harper’s own. Reels and jigs of course, but there’s also a hefty load of hornpipes and highlands, barndances and waltzes, as well as three powerful slow airs. Bríd is backed by a band of the best Breton boys in the business to give even more breadth of tradition.
Almost every track is breathtaking - the crunchy extravagance of Waiting for a Call by the late great Tommy Peoples, the exuberance of Charlie Lennon’s hornpipe The Abbey Tavern, fiddle tears wept on Bríd’s air Ag Breathnú ar na Féileacháin, Sylvain Barou’s pipes cutting in on a Reavy reel or solo fiddle sweetly sounding on Julia Devine’s Jig, another great Peoples composition. There’s quite a bit of unaccompanied fiddle here, on airs and dance tunes, and it almost slips by unnoticed, such is the strength and skill of Bríd Harper. Elsewhere, Nicolas Quemener’s guitar and Ronan Pellen’s cittern smartly back the melodies, while Sylvain adds flute and duduk to his piping presence.
Maud Millar, The Otter’s Holt by Junior Crehan, The Gold Ring (not that one - the other one) and Last Night’s Fun are lovingly played as duets. Barndances, airs and reels from the Donegal repertoire get a lively treatment before flute and cello tones turn Carolan’s Mrs Judge into a trio sonata. The final romp through two showpiece reels is an invitation to catch your breath before listening to Inis all over again - marvellous music!
Alex Monaghan

As We Feel It
Own Label, 12 Tracks, 35 Minutes
A classic pairing of box and fiddle from Dermot Byrne and Yvonne Casey. At first hearing you might think this is an album of old tunes, yet each and every track contains a set of newly wrought compositions. Of the dozen tracks two are co-writes, the opening Teelin Feelin/Uisce and track 11 The Road to Bunglas/ The Sidhe. Of the remaining tunes the writing credits are split equally.
There’s far more to this album than simply counting tunes, there’s the sound of the tunes themselves, you’d think they’d been around since Francis Xavier first walked the beat. And there’s the playing, tight in the duets, vintage unison playing, old style and deceptively simple, a style to be absorbed, phrases to analyse and emulate. New tunes perhaps, but all are from the pedigree bloodline of tradition.
With 12 tracks each one will keep you absorbed; ultimately these are tunes to learn, tunes to embrace, tunes to share, such as Yvonne’s fiddle solo on the jig and reel grouping of The Tracing Jig. Listen how by a shift in tempo she transfers to The Sparkling Well. Dermot’s solo accordion sings on Lag Na Carraig/Tra Ban. Fiddle and box are in step on Citi’s Dance, Dermot’s continental scented barn dance. More soloing from Dermot on Freewheelin, a cheeky tune that picks up the pace for the final measures, I can see an ensemble having great fun with this melody.
The final track shows the depth of tradition in the writing, as Yvonne plays her slow air Cnoc na Ri. You’d half expect it to be sourced from a sean-nós song or an ancient Irish poem, perhaps she has words in her head as she plays? It has that spiorad draíochta we’ve come to expect from the slow air tradition.
In short this is an album full of new tunes that will live in the tradition for years to come, presented unadorned and unaccompanied. One for players to indulge in and listeners to be enthralled by.
Seán Laffey

In Full Tune
Own Label PK CD01, 16 Tracks, 48 Minutes
Galway piper Pádraic Keane has released his debut solo piping album, In Full Tune. The collection is one of both popular and less popular tunes from the traditional music reserve. Much of the inspiration for the album is taken from Keane’s own growing up, alongside the piping tradition of the last couple of centuries. The music is performed on three sets of uilleann pipes made in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
Opening with a set of reels, followed by waltzes, Keane encapsulates the pipes in a haunting fashion. Although no expert on piping, I just became engrossed from the onset. As he progresses through the album with reels, slow air, dance reels and more, I got lost at the descriptive piece, Gol na mBan san Ár (The Women’s Lament in Battle). There was just something so beautiful and moving about this piece. Originally recorded in 1899, it’s haunting at every note, yet stunningly beautiful. So old, yet so new and fresh with Keane. The collection continues with 16 compositions in all. Each one unique, some ancient, and yet all so new and alive to the ear.
Accompanying this collection of music is a set of liner notes. Not only on the tunes but on the selection of pipes used throughout. This history and detail of the ‘Timothy Set’, The Geoff Wooff Set’ and ‘The Liam Rowsome Set’ give us an insight into these fascinating instruments and their history. Each tune is detailed in description and history. These notes allow us to familiarise ourselves with the music in a literal sense. So we get the best of everything from this inaugural album.
Keane’s imagination and impulse are evident throughout. His own unique style is one that is following in the traditional musical footsteps of his grandfather Tommy McCarthy, whilst creating and carving his own. This inaugural recording highlights a long road of piping to come from Pádraic Keane.
Gráinne McCool

Irish Traditional Music on Flute
Own Label, 13 Tracks, 30 Minutes
The seasoned musician, Roscommon flute player, John Carlos acknowledges Tom McElvogue as the force that pulled it all together. But with the versatility of playing and talented guests on this self-titled album, perhaps the recording, mixing and producing proved a very rewarding experience. There’s a genuine sense of contentedness in the sound, a superb selection of tunes, rhythmic playing, authentic, no excessive harmonic nor technological wizardry.
I Buried My Wife, The Mug of Brown Ale and Charlie Mulvihill’s is a great showcase of the ensemble; Shane and John Carlos, flute and fiddle respectively with John McCartin on guitar is an excellent version of the well-known set, melody instruments tight, accompaniment tasty.
The one-minute tune, the final track, Miss McGuinness, with Máirtín Ó Muirí, (RIP) is a genuinely stellar communion between flute and guitar.
Never does John Carlos stray far from the bedrock of tradition, allowing the music to breathe, coming from a generation of players who indulged the dancer to the modern day listening audience, he has competence and sensitivity. Almost all of the tracks are well travelled, stalwarts of the tradition, with Paddy Kerr bouzouki and bodhrán all over the album, great dexterity in the playing, he’s a tuneful link. The Mullingar Races, The Roscommon Reel and Geoghegan’s is a powerful set, great energy, legitimacy in the music, flawless mixing.
Given that Irish music is essentially an oral tradition, handed down from one generation to the next through a listening, performing process, one of the highlights here is the father and son duo, with Shane, on Master Mc Dermott’s and The Killavil Fancy, legacy undeniable, a rousing dynamic, effortless togetherness. Carlos thanks his ensemble on his bandcamp page: “Paddy Kerr, John McCartin and Máirtín Ó Muirí (RIP) for their time, energy and talent accompanying this recording, complimenting the melodies with the utmost of taste.” The man responsible for recording this fine album, Tom McElvogue, is guaranteed to be lending his expertise and time again at his Clondra, Co. Longford studio with the next generation Roscommon Carlos family.
Anne Marie Kennedy

Tierra Quemada
Own Label, 9 Tracks, 34 Minutes
Paul Tasker is an acclaimed Scottish guitarist, well-known for his outstanding duo Doghouse Roses with singer/guitarist Iona MacDonald. This second solo instrumental album (a follow-up to his debut Cold Weather Music) has been a few years in the works, and features only self-composed instrumental music, played by Paul on 5-string banjo, fingerstyle guitar and mandolin, augmented by guest musicians on viola, drums, harp, trumpet and double bass. Paul describes himself as a frustrated pianist and there are strong suggestions of this in his beautiful guitar style, influenced by such iconic figures as Frahm and Einaudi. He has also clearly benefited from exposure to the acoustic guitar maestros such as Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. The album title translates as “scorched earth” and reflects Paul’s concern for the perilous state of nature, with recurring themes of regeneration and change. He draws liberally from a range of genres – folk, jazz and classical themes are freely intermingled.
The banjo is used as a lead instrument on tracks such as Womble The Sausage Dog, a humorous tribute to a neighbour’s dog who liked the sound of the instrument! Firefly is a beautifully reflective guitar piece with some lovely harp and double bass from Rachel Hair and Una McGlone. There’s huge diversity in styles, and the guitar and banjo playing throughout is a joy as he demonstrates his proficiency in an understated manner – his clawhammer banjo technique gives the instrument a mellower sound with less attack than usual.
The title track develops an initial theme with additional instrumentation, which transports it on a journey suggesting a damaged environment that slowly recovers, with an optimistic finish. DMT is just solo guitar with natural percussive effects preserved; echoes here of the folk guitar greats who inspired him, and whose ranks Paul has now joined. Last Waltz is mainly banjo and double bass, the rhythmic element effortlessly accomplished by these two instruments with no added percussion. Overall, this album is an assured demonstration of Paul Tasker’s accomplished musicianship.
Mark Lysaght

Big Spring
Avonmore Records, 12 Tracks, 38 Minutes
Irish, bluegrass, old-time and Tejano tunes and three songs feature in this musical delicatessen from St. Louis based Kevin Buckley. The Irish side of the fiddle’s family tree is at the forefront throughout this fine recording.
Kevin’s a veritable multi-instrumentalist playing: fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, octave mandolin, and singing lead vocals. He is joined by Alan Murray (bouzouki), Gerard Erker (banjo), Alex Sinclair (vocals), Dan Lowery (vocals, guitar), Eileen Gannon (harp), Jon Ferber (guitar), Eimear Arkins (fiddle) and Ian Walsh (fiddle).
The album’s title come from a scenic area in the Ozark Mountains, and he takes a trip to the rushy mountains of Sliabh Luachra for his opening salvo, Jackie Daly’s Sweeney’s Wheel, written for a lad from Galway who was intent on inventing a perpetual motion machine (is he still at it?). Other Irish tunes follow: Hardiman the Fiddler, a wink here to the laconic style of Martin Hayes. Darkness and mellow modal tunes are paired in the Queen and the Cook, (Queen of the Rushes and The Cook in the Kitchen). He mentions his Missouri home on The Belles of Saint Louis, it’s fast, fun and fulsome fiddling from the Irish flute repertoire. Marcelle et Marcel, is a waltz conjuring up Gauloises, coffee and conversations under pleached chestnuts in a Parisian plaza. His own tune Ryder’s Block, sounds like its ancestor might have been the Glendareul Highlanders.
There are songs too, the old-timey The Blackest Crow. The ghostly retribution of a maid defiled on Miss Bailey. The vocal showstopper is undoubtedly his version of Andy Irvine’s homage to Woody Guthrie Never Tire of the Road, it is up there with the original, just voice and bouzouki, it’s a master class in itself.
The album ends with Buckley being joined by fiddlers Eimear Arkins and Ian Walsh, for a wheel turning Ships are Sailing. Kevin Buckley has been a big find for me. I could gush about every track, to see if you agree, get yourself over to his Bandcamp page and enjoy the visit.
Seán Laffey