Margeson on the Music December 2014
‘Tis the season and all that. Here is the annual column on the perfect trad music gift for that certain someone on your list. We hasten to add that all these cd’s are available, or can be gotten easily for you by Alan O’Leary at Copperplate Distribution in London. Patronize his business, as it is the best of its type in the world. If he ain’t got it, you don’t need it. Here is a list of everything we’ve reviewed this year. As usual, if it is here, it is recommended. Otherwise, it would not have been reviewed in the first place:
Sean Tyrrell—Moonlight on Galway Bay-Songs Our Fathers Sang –The Master of Irish Song produces a stunner. Lots of classics here you probably grew up on, given a breathtakingly fresh and gorgeous take by this huge talent of a man. No album more highly recommended this year.
Loreena McKennitt-The Journey So Far-McKennit fans will LOVE this. New-age stuff on harp. Marginal vocals. But, it is interesting for fans of this type of fluff. It will probably sell the most of any of these albums, bless her little heart.
The O’Schraves-Family Day-Canadians and the best family act in the business. Never mind the publicity and dollar machines behind other recent and less-talented families. This is a GEM, and an act to be watched.
We Banjo 3-Gather the Good-Another stunner from the biggest vocal/instrumental group in trad right now. Still hot. Their stage shows are regrettably, yet understandably, resembling Gaelic Storm lately, but their musical skills are undiminished. Great stuff, altogether. Fab. Uberfab.
The Henry Girls- Louder than Words- This trio of talented Donegal sisters are just wonderful. Lovely voices, perfect harmonies and talented instrumentalists. Not a trad album, per se, but truly and deeply Irish music in the best sense of the word. Very highly recommended for the Irish music fan on your list who is so-so on trad, yet wants great music.
Goitse-Tall Tales and Misadventures-Oh, this is a great group. Young, full of energy and going places fast. A must-have for the trad fan on your list. VERY big in Europe and the rest of the world, as well! We LOVE them!
Runa-Current Affairs- This Canadian-American-Irish group is also on a mega trajectory. Wow! Stunning vocal/instrumental album from an award-winning group. Another must-have for your trad lover, or for you!! Masterful music!
Brendan Hayes-A Visit to Ireland- Strangely, this mega-talent and former piano player for Reeltime released this highly entertaining and perfectly arranged vocal/instrumental collection of classics, but has done little, if anything, to promote it. Still worth hunting down! You’ll love it after you find it!
Sinead Healey-Shuffle the Deck-Definitive shot at New Talent of the Year, this album is a perfectly played and produced tour de force on the piano accordion, playing the best in Irish music with superb accompaniment. Jimmy Keane! Be Careful! This All-Ireland 2007 Winner may be coming after your crown!
Neansai Ni Choisdealbha-Draiocht Na Feadoige—This means it is by Nancy Costello and entitled, Magic of the Flute. We are continually mystified by the Irish penchant for naming their albums and names in Irish and then trying to sell product in America, Canada and the UK. Oh, well. It IS a shame, because the title will make it virtually unfindable by the public, and it is a stunning bit of flute playing from a woman who is obviously a fabulous, Galway musician. If you love Irish flute (who doesn’t) make the extra effort. This is worth it.
Dan Possumato-Tunes Inside-This American button box player has a winner of an album on his hands. Great tunes, altogether and ably assisted by some really talented people. Good man, Dan!!
Aodan Coyne-If We Only Knew-The lead singer of Socks in the Frying Pan is out with a stunner of a solo effort. Lovely vocals and strong accompanists guarantee a lovely aural adventure. If We Only Knew. Well, we DO know, and it is great!
Cassie and Maggie MacDonald–Sterling Road. JUST in under the wire, the ink is still wet on the jacket of this stunner of a new album from the incredible MacDonald Sisters. They are from Nova Scotia, and have produced a gorgeous piece of work that is likely to win a major Award here on LiveIreland for 2014. Fab instrumentals and vocals. Wow! Wow! This is GREAT work, and a must have! The last minute surprise of the year from a major new force on the scene! WOW!!
Merry Christmas—and have fun with this list!
We hope you are listening to Bill & Imelda every Sunday at 18:00 GMT! (BTW, LiveIreland soon to be featured at Disneyland in California! More on this later.) And, join Imelda and me on House Party for Chicago’s only bluegrass show, every Monday at 4:00GMT, Chicago time, on WDCB, 90.9 fm and WDCB.org. We play a lot of Irish, too, of course!