Margeson on the music March 2015

There are four albums this month to which attention must be paid. Great stuff to be sure, to be sure! Two of them are immediate contenders for Vocal/Instrumental CD of the Year, one is the early leader for Compendium Album of the Year, and one is a stunner from an incredibly talented fiddle player, Haley Sandoz. No priority order here in the albums:
Let’s start with Hailey Sandoz. Prodigy. Unbelievable. The album is entitled, Fingerprints. The name of the group is Oga. Actually, the “group” is she and guitatrist, Joseph Carmichael. Brace yourself. Hailey is 15 years old. 15. But here’s the deal. She is just about the best new fiddle player we have heard in a long, long time—regardless of age! The correct word IS “prodigy”. Four of the tunes on this album are also penned by her, with two co-authored by Oga partner, the very good guitarist, Carmichael. Two are penned by her friend and musical mentor, Liz Carroll. When we heard the cd, we called friend Liz, and she raves about Hailey in two areas. Liz is as stunned as we are by the ability and musical maturity of Hailey—and, far more importantly, what a great young person she is. We are going to do a full article on her here very soon. LiveIreland’s worldwide audience must know of this young gun! WOW! Go to the website: There are lots of guest artists on this album, but be in no doubt. The story here is Hailey Sandoz. There is nothing better in our business than finding new, young talent of a major league level out of the starting gate. Oga is that. Long career here for Hailey. Did we say it before? Let us repeat. WOW!
Caladh Nua is a great young quintet out with what is, I believe, their third album, Honest to Goodness. It is great trad played with terrific energy and intuitive understanding. The group consists of Eoin O’Meachair on banjo and whistle, Derek Morrissey on button box, Colm O’ Caoimh on guitar, Paddy Tutty on fiddle, and this album’s revelation, Lisa Butler doing the vocals. She also plays fiddle and is stunning. We have enjoyed her singing from the very first album, but something happened here. Maybe all those years on the road came together, and the performances put a lovely round in the voice. Whatever, she has never been better. We risk raving about her to the exclusion of the four other band members, which would be criminal. Quite simply, this is a must-have album from a must-have group. This CD is a super-contender for every Award we give at the end of the year. Wow!
Talk about incredible albums from wonderful groups; is there any better vocal/instrumental group in the business right now than Danu? The group is out with a brand new cd named Buan. Danu shares lots of things with Caladh Nua. First is the fact that no one else sounds like them. The second is that they are four guys with one terrific female singer fronting the whole thing. Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh is on vocals and flute here. She is a two-time winner of Female Vocalist of the Year here. There are many who would say she is the best female Irish vocalist in the business right now. (Here comes Lisa Butler!) Benny McCarthy is on button box, Oisin McAuley on fiddle, Eamon Doorley on guitar, and Donal Clancy on guitar and vocals. They are on tour as you read this, but their popularity almost always ensures that they are on tour somewhere. By the time you see this, they will have been in Chicago, but check their website, since they have an extensive tour well into March. The album is 11 songs and tunes of the highest caliber. We have come to expect only the best from Danu, and here we have it again. Over the years, Danu has established themselves as absolutely essential to the music. Very few group do this. There have been ups and downs, ins and outs. But the group is celebrating their 20th anniversary. There have been changes in personnel, but what has not changed is the group’s unique sound, and ability to arrange their music in a form that is both immediately appealing to the general public, and truly tasty to a knowledgeable trad fan. LiveIreland remains the only vehicle for a worldwide debut of Irish Traditional music and few, if any, groups have received an immediate reception at this level. They are hits worldwide, as well as Chicago!!! This is the real deal, and professionals at their work. The best.
There are almost no major labels left in the recording industry. One of them is the wonderful Borealis out of Ontario. It is home to some of the best acts in the world including La Bottine Souriante and the unequalled, Laura Smith. The label has rolled through its vast archives and come up with a massive and fabulous product, entitled Six Strings North of the Border-The Collection. It is actually three cd’s featuring the best guitar work from Canadian artists and the label. There are so many artists represented ranging from the already-famous J.P Cormier to the little-know Eve Goldberg and Rick Fielding, at least little known in the States. That’s the purpose of this cd. If there is any justice, names like Eve Goldberg and Rick Fielding will become hugely known in the Universe. Justice may be hard to find, but not these three cd’s. This is music you can just put on, leave on, and love. Highly varied, the one uniting musical feature is that each cut is wonderful. You really should have at least one of these cd’s, and if you are smart, you will have all three in the collection. It is well worth the money and Canada needs the exchange! Only kidding. Get this collection! Get it now! Get up! Fill ‘yer boots, man!
Don’t forget to listen to Imelda Bhroga and me on the aforementioned on Sundays at 18:00 GMT for two hours of the best in trad. Join us in the chat room along with listeners from all over the world. We will also be featured during the unbelievably popular LiveIreland St. Patrick’s Day Marathon over the High Holy Holiday. Check it all out on the site, Literally thousands upon thousands will join you there on Paddy’s Day. Also, if you love bluegrass, (and if you love the parent that is Irish music), you must love the child, bluegrass. Imelda and I are on WDCB 90.9fm and every Monday night at 10 o’clock pm. Chicago time. You can join us there in yet another chat room. We do love to chat! Visit our facebook page WDCB House Party for more info and the chat link.
Happy Paddy’s Day!!

Author: Bill Margeson

Presenter liveIreland and WDCB Chicago. Irish American News Chicago USA, Irish Music Magazine Dublin, Ireland. Pub Quiz Promoter Chicago. IrishFest Milwaukee patron and reviewer.

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