July LI Margeson on the Music
Happy July 4th. This is the month to celebrate America. Wait, every month is the month to celebrate America, but that is the view from Chicago!! When is your big national holiday? Now, we celebrate the best in Irish music, and we also celebrate four new albums that are absolutely sensational.
First up, let’s talk about We Banjo 3. Their new album is Gather the Good, and indeed that is just what they’ve done. There are 12 songs and tunes on this remarkable album. We have discussed in detail this band’s wonderful joining, and its meteoric rise to the current number one position in Irish-bluegrass-Americana-world-folk-blues-music. They are stunning, and incredibly popular. Some recent unfortunate pairings for live shows with bands far lesser then they must be overlooked. This album from the Galway lads is the best they’ve got right now, and that’s just about better than everybody else. If you are a We Banjo 3 fan, all you need is this notification that the new CD is out. It is their second. Their first was Roots of the Banjo Tree. If you are not a fan, give a listen to both albums, and you will be. Join the rest of the world. This is the leading contender right now for Vocal-Instrument Album of the Year.
Out of Donegal comes a favorite group of ours, The Henry Girls. You should know that they are Lorna, Karen, and Joleen McLaughlin. The history of why they are called The Henry Girls has been discussed here in detail. Everything gets discussed here in detail. Where are YOU? They have had five wonderful previous albums including Mountains to the Ocean, with the raucous bluegrass group, Fox Hunt. This is not Irish Traditional music. However, it is wonderful and purely Irish music. These three girls have been performing all their lives, and like the Everly Brothers, Andrews Sisters, and the Mills Brothers, they share that perfect sibling blend in gorgeous harmonies. Nobody in Irish music sings harmonies better than these girls. Fantastic, and so is this album. The new one is called Louder Than Words, and it is their best ever. Just like We Banjo 3, it is great to see an experienced band of entertainers just continuously get better and better. We are unabashed fans of these Donegal Duchesses. Make no mistake about it, this is wonderful music from a group that we suspect does not yet fully realize how good they are. World-class. Three voices as one. Those wonderful sibling harmony groups of the past could not have their legacies in better hands. You go, Girls.
Third up is Tall Tales and Misadventures, the brand new outing from the fabulous quintet, Goitse. This is their third album. Guess what? It is their BEST, also! Tall Tales and Misadventures has 11 great songs and tunes. This act is now so polished and professional it is no wonder that they are one of the most popular acts on the international festival circuit, as well as concert performances through the rest of the year. On our Sunday program, the Bill & Imelda show from Dublin Ireland, on LiveIreland.com, we have long been well been aware that Goitse is one of the most popular acts internationally. We like to think on LiveIreland that we discovered them for the international trade. We believe we did. But, like anything else, that is only trying to get bragging rights for something that is a complete phenomenon on its own. Goitse is wonderful, and keeps getting wonderfuller! We love them, and can’t wait to see them again in person. Unfortunately, we missed them when they were in Milwaukee for a winter concert, but we’ll look forward to repeated visits to the Chicago area. Long live Goitse. The new album is a stunner.
Finally, a great album from Runa. Entitled, Current Affairs, it shows the band at its current best. And, that best is mighty good. The band’s personnel is an international gumbo of an Irish group. It’s a quintet, and it’s terrific, blending wonderful vocals with really exciting instrumentals. This is their fourth album, and just out two weeks as you read this. Quite honestly, like Goitse, it includes a full variety of tempos, timings and fresh approaches to the auld’ music. Runa is young, fresh and exciting. Extremely high level of creativity meets a really high level of musicianship and understanding of the tradition. We love Runa. Get this CD. Heck, get ALL of these CD’s.
You can hear all this music on our pal, Maryann Keifer’s program, Ireland Tonight, each Monday at 9 o’clock on WDCB 90.9 fm in the Chicago area, and streaming at wdcb.org. Imelda Bhroga and I follow with House Party, which is mostly bluegrass, but always has an Irish tune to remind everyone where bluegrass music came from. We follow Maryann at 10 o’clock. And, don’t forget Imelda Bhroga’s and my Sunday program on LiveIreland.com every week at noon, Chicago time. We offer you two hours of the best in traditional music. The show is based out of Dublin, Ireland, and is now the #1 Irish music program in the world for total listening audience. We are followed every week on Sundays at 2 o’clock pm by what we consider to be the best Irish music program in the world in terms of quality, selection, knowledge and taste. It is The Copperplate Show, hosted by Alan O’Leary. Also on LiveIreland.com and based out of London and Dublin. Along with Harry Bradshaw, formerly of the RTE, no one in the world knows more about our music than Alan. Uber Fab.
Tune in to all three of these shows. You will be hearing a lot of each of these four CD’s on the programs. We all know great music when we hear it.