Margeson on the Music June 2014
Margeson on the Music June 2014
First up: Tuning the Road by Louise Mulcahy. You know Louise Mulcahy. If you don’t, you should. She is part of the ever-fab Mulcahy family. I believe they are out of Leitrim in Ireland. Dad Mick raised Louise and sister, Michelle deeply in the tradition, and has produced two of the most influential practitioners of our music. Michelle has been honored in this column several times for her work as traditional music’s most influential harpist. She is a wonder, to be sure. But ahh, her sister! Both girls are now in their early 20’s. Both are gorgeous, and both are massively talented. Irish music has the power to make young girls into beautiful women. It is just the fact and not to be questioned. Play Irish music young, and you will be a total fox forever. Louise was correctly known as a child prodigy on the uilleann pipes. She’s also a wonderful flute player, and all of that is here on this cd. It is on Clo iar-Chonnacta. She is joined by several star musicians. Who would not want to be on this cd with her? There are 14 cuts on the cd. There is more flute than pipes featured. Occasionally, Louise will lapse into a common error of young flute players in pushing your instrument too hard and giving it too much of an edge. However, the overwhelming majority of her flute playing on this cd shows an ability and taste far beyond her years. Her piping is, as usual, flawless. Oh, oh, to have been around in the days when dad Mick packed up his button box, his daughters and their instruments, and played sessions at every performance opportunity they could. Magic times. But, at the end of all those miles and all those hours, we have Louise and her sister, Michelle. Thank heaven and thank Mick. This album will immediately qualify Louise for finalist consideration for Female Musician of the Year. We are at a loss to see who could beat her. The Mulcahys are now central to the tradition, and that means that the tradition is in good hands. Roll on, Louise and Michelle!
Next up, a wonderful find. The O’Schraves are based out of Camden. This is another real family-ish group. We are not sure how they are all related, except musically, (we ran out of time on deadline). We do know that it is the best family act in the business. We know that they are extremely close friends, extremely close musically, and they love the French-Canadian approach to the music. “Schryer” is the key name here that brings all this together. I realize now I’m spending way too much time in trying to figure out how these family members are related. Far more important is the album entitled, Family Day. There is such a breadth of music here. There are 15 tunes and songs. We admit to being a sucker for a waltz, and there are two gorgeous ones here. But these Canadians who are based, we believe, in Sault St. Marie play all their music with such verve, ability and taste that it is hard to pick favorites. Find this cd. Up until a short time ago we had no idea that the O’Schraves even existed. Thanks to Imelda Bhroga’s and my Dublin-based Sunday show, LiveIreland.com, listener Gail Conrick (herself a Canadian) brought the family to our attention. We owe her one! This is sensational, and a real find. Over the years, we have joined you, the reader, in looking forward to the big new cd’s out from all the big names in the business. Also, over the years, nothing has pleased us more than to become suddenly aware of a more unknown act. It is truly like finding a diamond in a clear stream. Wonderful. Fresh. So it is with the O’Schraves. We think of the Bluegrass families like the Cherryholmes, now retired, and other family groups on the road currently, in Irish music. You know who they are. They are good, if basic. Then come the O’Schraves. This is another level entirely, and we are members of the fan club instantly. They are a worthy and early favorite for Newcomers of the Year. We’ve talked with you before of how difficult it is to describe a cd with the written word. Hopefully you’ve come to trust our ear when you come to spend money on a cd. This isn’t like the old days when you could go into a booth in a record store and listen to an entire album before you bought it. So, finally, any music journalist has to ultimately just say, “Trust us.” The O’Schraves and Louise Mulcahy are the real deal. Wow! Trust us.
Don’t’ forget to join Imelda and me on Sundays at noon on LiveIreland.com out of Dublin, Ireland for the world’s most listened to Irish music program, the Bill and Imelda Show. We also want you to join us Monday nights at 10pm for House Party on WDCB, 90.9 fm and wdcb.org. The show features bluegrass, some Irish and some Cajun. We have a ball. And so will you. We also have the facebook page where Imelda and I hang out and chat with you during the show–House Party WDCB. Hope to see you for both shows every week. And, don’t forget Maryann Keifer on WDCB at 9:00 with Ireland Tonight!