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Here are several tasty treats for you. Let’s start with the new, new first. Sox in the Frying Pan has a self-titled album out. These three young men are terrific musicians with an obvious sense of humor. Brothers Shane and Fiachra Hayes on accordion/fiddle/banjo are accompanied by Aodan Coyne on guitar and vocals. We would expect these three from Clare to be excellent on their instruments, and they are. What is most notable is that they are also tremendous in their vocal work. Irish groups for the last several years have not been known for having beautiful harmonies n their vocals. No offense, but they just haven’t. Socks in the Frying Pan is different. Wonderful vocals. We are fans. To do the festival circuit, we think they are going to need a fourth player on keyboards to give the group some bass. But that is just nitpicking. Let’s just deal with this album, and it qualifies them early for the New Group of the Year.
Here’s Garry O’Meara with his new album Pickin’ Time. Garry was born in Dublin, and on this album has some wonderful accompanists, and he is also a terrific singer. Get thee to his website. Wonderful stuff and a great banjo player. We reviewed this briefly, recently. We want to call it to your attention again.

Buy the Album here: http://www.socksinthefryingpan.com/album/

The leading female Irish vocalist of our day is quite likely Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh. She is the former Female Vocalist of the Year here. Her new solo album again puts her in the front runner position for this year’s Award. You know her, or should, as she is the singer for the popular group Danu, but it is in her solo work where she really shines. Like on this album, the English title of which is The Small Hours. We were hipped to this album by the great Alan O’Leary at Copperplate in London. Thank you, Alan, and thank you Muireann. She is just wonderful.
Alan O’Leary at Copperplate also sent a brilliant new album from the Tara Music Company titled, Masters of their Craft. Compendium albums are a fantastic way to check in on Irish performers you may have missed, and are also a terrific opportunity to become acquainted with Celtic music in the first place. Where most compendium albums go wrong is that they collect and present different groups and singers who are second-rate amateurs, and therefore many of these compendium cd’s are crap. Not so here. Moving Hearts, Rita Connolly, Planxty, Liam O’Flynn, Christy Moore, and Shaun Davey are only some of the artists you’ll find here. Magic. You must have it. Many of the very best, all in one!
From Greentrax, we have received Celtic Airs and Reflective Melodies. It is gorgeous. This all-Scottish cd presents many of the leading musicians of our day, both past and present. Many people feel that nobody plays the airs better than the Scots. We tend to agree, and you will hear why on this album. Another winner in a long line from Greentrax. It is perfect for serious listening, or just lovey background. We cannot recommend it highly enough.
We were recently boxing up a ton of trad cd’s for our Irish music pal, Jon Kiger, who is taking over the popular Atlanta Irish music program, The Celtic Show. It is on Sunday nights from 4-6, Chicago time. It is available online at wrfg.org. Jon will be the new host of the show beginning in July. We’ll keep you informed. He is a massive music fan, and highly knowledgeable.
In packing up the cd’s we were digging in nooks and crannies and found an album sent to us by the aforementioned, Copperplate. How we missed this, we don’t know. It is a few years old. We never heard it. We never reviewed it. Somehow, with getting 500 cd’s a year, it fell between the cracks. Criminal. The album is called The Ominous and the Luminous by Micks Sands. Alan O’Leary tells us that Mick is from Northern Ireland originally but now lives in London. He is one of the best Irish singers we have ever heard. Mick is also a gorgeous flute player. He sings and plays Irish music the way others want to. We know Alan has it at Copperplate. Just Google, Copperplatedistribution.com. This gem may be hard to find, otherwise. Don’t repeat our mistake. Find it.

Copperplate would also have the Gael Linn masterpiece by Seamus Ennis entitled Ceol, Scalta Agus Amhrain. If you love uilleann pipes, you already know that the iconic Seamus Ennis may have been the best of all time. We don’t know. Depends on the style you like. Simply put, he is a god of the tradition. We listened to this entire cd again right before we wrote this. Perhaps some of the masters equaled him. None excelled him. Gael Linn is an incredible resource to people who love Irish traditional music. If you are not familiar with them, Google them. Gael Linn has never set a musical foot wrong. They are as historically important a label as their music is entertaining. This cd is a prime example. Thank you, Gael Linn and God bless Seamus Ennis.

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Tags: Sox in the Frying Pan

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