Margeson on the Music March 2014

Tasty Treats Dept.:

Craobh Rua is out with a brand new album, entitled, I’d Understand You If I Knew What You Meant. We don’t care for the title (too clever by half), but we like the group a lot. A whole lot. It is a talented quartet giving us trad treats aplenty, including a guest star appearance from one of our favorite flute players of all time, Brendan Mulholland. The singing on the album is very good, and what we like best are the harmonies. The instrumentation is impeccable. We have Desy McCabe on uillean pipes, Brian Connolly on banjo/mandolin, Jim Rainey on guitar and vocals, with Conor Caldwell and Michael Cassidy on fiddles. It is a unique sound, and one we like. Lovers of the Northern tradition in Irish music will especially love this album. Highly recommended.

Next month, when we have more room, we are going to go into detail on wonderful new albums from Slide, Capercaillie, and the Alan Kelly Gang. We will conclude this month with a gem of a solo thing from the Alan Kelly Gang wooden flute star, Steph Geremia. It is called The Open Road. This girl can play the flute. The arrangements are spare, no-nonsense treats with hornpipes, highlands, reels and jigs enough for everyone—and a gorgeous air called Aladair’s. In fact, the air is so lovely, we wish there had been more. Steph is joined by some tremendous guest stars including Johnny “Ringo” McDonagh on bodhran, Jimmy “The Sleep” Higgins on percussion, Tola Custy on fiddle, and the fantastic Brendan O’Regan on bouzouki. Regular band mate, Alan Kelly also joins in on piano-accordion. This is an outstanding CD and a gem you might not have heard about, otherwise. We would check out The Alan Kelly Gang’s website, as well as Steph Geremia online. As we said, this is the kind of album that is easy to miss, and we did. In recent communication with Alan Kelly, he also sent along the album by the group’s flute player. Thank goodness he did. We also like Alan’s current Gang very much and will be talking more about them next month.

A quick endnote here: The unequalled Greentrax from Scotland has just released a fantastic double album, The Scottish Diaspora—The Music and the Song. It is a real tapestry of Scottish music and some of its best practitioners. The album notes are extensive and the selection of music is staggering. This is an album that is only for the lovers of the real Scottish music outside of the pipe bands. From Dick Gaughan to Fiona Mackenzie, it seems as if everyone is included. Oh, this is mighty! There are so many who love Scottish music, though it is of a specific style and tenor. If you love Scottish music, there is really no debate here—you must have it!

· Happy St. Patrick’s and TA!

Author: litest

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