Margeson on the Music September 2014

Several cd’s this month. Some of these we’ve actually talked about in the past. The reason they’re being included again is that our discussion was too brief, and like love interrupted, unfulfilling. Let’s go!
A brilliant, and we do mean brilliant, album is A Visit to Ireland from Brendan Hayes. The true trad fanatic will recognize Brendan as the piano player for the best-ever Irish trad band, Reeltime. Brendan still plays with them at the Trad on the Prom show in Salthill near Galway. “Benny” as he is known to all of us, is a really good piano player and a fine, fine singer. Most importantly, he has exquisite taste and presentation—all of which is obvious in this cd. A Visit to Ireland has Benny playing guitar and piano, backed by some incredible musicians including Ger Fahy, Niamh Dunne, and Eilis Egan. The album contains a lot of chestnuts, but they are so fresh, and offered with a sneakily trad presentation, you suddenly find yourself listening anew. Now living in Dublin, Benny Hayes has brought a masterpiece to the market. We love him, and we can’t imagine anyone NOT loving him!
Something serious is happening around Saulte Ste. Marie in Canada. The best family band in the business right now is the O’Schraves. We’re still trying to get a handle on who is family and who is not, but they are fabulous, as we told you when we reviewed their brilliant album, Family Day. In this group of musicians from the area, there is a wonderful band called the Brian Pickell Band. They are out with Waves. The group is made up of many of the members of the O‘Schraves. Get the picture? This is an absolutely terrific album from a very talented quintet. Get thee to and get it. This is a band that, like the O’Schraves, brings together the best in trad and bluegrass. We cannot possibly recommend the tunes on this cd too highly. Chicago, right now, is the ultimate hotbed for great Irish trad and musicians coming together with serious mojo. Now, of all places, we are watching Saulte Ste. Marie. Who knew?
I think we told you about Sinead Healy and her album, Shuffle the Deck. Young, beautiful, and incredibly talented, she’s a wonderful piano accordion player. Now, she ain’t at the level of Jimmy Keane, but who is? Here’s the secret. We don’t remember ever hearing a musician this young with this taste. The production arrangements, and ambiance on this cd are at a master’s level. I still cannot believe when I hear this that all this talent is invested in one young woman. Be you the ultimate master, like Jimmy Keane, or simply a fan, like the rest of us, this is a must-have cd and another one of those that we think absolutely everyone would like. Some cd’s are too modern for the purist, and some are too pure for the modernist. This cd is a perfect treat for anyone. Give it as a Christmas gift with total confidence. Sinead Healy is a winner from front to back.
Speaking of winners, Mick McAuley, Winifred Horan, and Colm O’ Caoimh have produced a lovely piece of business, Sailing Back to You. Winnie Horan is a former Female Musician of the Year here. Despite her and Mick’s continued detour into the relatively non-productive world of Solas, they continue to put out incredible cd’s on their own, when separated from the group. These three are master musicians and Irish artists, and this is a master class in Irish music. Wow! Sailing Back to You is wonderful and important.

We KNOW we have previously reviewed Tall Tales and Misadventures by Goitse. But, it was a case of too little, too early. This is their best album yet. What is not to love about Goitse? On Imeda Bhroga’s and my LiveIreland,com show, based out of Dublin, Ireland every Sunday at noon, Chicago time, there are few more-requested groups than Goitse. As with Socks in the Frying Pan, Goitse has benefitted tremendously from the attention and support received worldwide from If you’re Goitse, you want to be supported in Chicago by Maryann Keifer and Erik Carlson and Mary Caraway. If you want to break worldwide, the only game in town is Goitse deserves every bit of popularity and support they are receiving, no matter the source. There are no more talented young groups in the music right now than Goitse and Sock in the Frying Pan. Tall Tales and Misadventures will show you why. This is a stunning bit of business. Christmas is coming.
Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch are out with Rolling On. They are also joined by Conal O’ Grada, Paul DeGrae, and Geraldine O’ Callaghan. If you are a trad fan, you know who Jackie Daly and Matt Cranitch are. If you are not, we don’t have space to tell you here,. Matt is a master fiddler, and there are those who argue that Jackie Daly is the best button box player in the world with his Sliabh Luchra style. This is for the true trad fan and make no mistake, if you are that fan. This is a must-have addition to your library. Rolling On, indeed—and still at the top of their game.
Last is a very quick note. We have to mention again Runa and their cd, Current Affairs. What a quintet! What an album! Runa is another one of these incredibly capable and artistic young groups that keep issuing forth. Current Affairs is a great, great cd.
So, there are seven. Now, don’t complain about not knowing what to get for Christmas, or what to ASK for, for Christmas. Runa, Goitse, Brendan Hayes, Cranitch and Daly, Sinead Healy, Brian Pickell Band, McCauley, Horan, & OCaoimh. These are where the best of Irish music is right now, and where it is going.
Listen to Imelda and me every week on WDCB 90.9fm and for House Party, the Best of Bluegrass, Cajun, and Irish-Mondays at 10pm. Chicago time. Then join us on every Sunday from Chicago at noon for two hours of the best in Irish music. Thank you. That is all. Return to your normal programming.

Author: litest

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