Irish Internet Radio and TV from Dublin, Ireland.

Well, here we go. Winter is coming. But here are five albums to keep you warm and cozy. 
First up is the great, Seamus Begley on button box and vocals, joined by Tim Edey on guitar. The name of the album is Disgrace Notes. We are late to the dance on this one, but the important thing is that we arrived. There are few, if any, male singers we love more in Irish music than Seamus Begley. His is one of the great voices on the great Irish album of all time, Beal Tuinne. Shaun Davey and Rita Connolly were such critical players in Beal Tuinne, along with Seamus. They join him on this album doing some gorgeous harmony work with his vocals. Tim Edey is terrific on guitar. Begley’s fab work on the button box has a constantly wild and almost improvised feel to it. This is only accomplished by the masters. Nobody plays a polka better than County Kerry’s Seamus Begley.  This album is fantastic. Get it!

Next is Sean McCarthy with Halcyon Days. Sean is the piper for Full Set. He is from Galway and is one of the big factors in that city’s thriving trad scene. He’s a brilliant uillean piper, to say the least. This is shown in the album we reviewed last month, Full Set. And equally true in this, his solo debut. There are 13 tracks on this, and they are all played with incredible maturity and style.  This is a musician to pay attention to and cherish, as is this album. Wow! Newcomer of the Year? Quite possibly. 

Cliabhan an Duchais is from Brid O’Donohue There are six O’Donohues here. Harp, two flutes, fiddles, concertina, and uillean pipes. This is yet another of those brilliant Irish families that seem to exist in Ireland for the sole purpose of bringing up superb musicians and entertaining the world. Alan O’Leary at Copperplate told us about this album and family. They are as good as he told us. In America, the album is distributed by Ossian USA. This is an album of real taste and refinement, and these are traditional musicians in the very best sense of the word. Another legendary family from Erin’s shamrock shore. This is just wonderful. This is Irish music.

Year in and year out, there are few singers/songwriters who we love more than Nova Scotia’s Dave Gunning. One of the albums of his that we foolishly have not reviewed yet is, We’re All Leaving. This is not Irish traditional but it is very Irish. Dave Gunning is not a traditional Irish musician, but he is very Irish. He has the sensitivity and soul of a true artist. Man, can this guy write a great song. We saw him for the first time a few years back at Nova Scotia’s well-loved and remembered presence at Irish Fest in Milwaukee. He has only gotten better in the meantime and is a major force in Canadian music. He is not as well-known as he should be outside of Canada, and that is criminal. He is a great artist and a gift. Now, you know about him. Get one of his albums. Then, you’ll know him even better.

Certainly there has been a flowering recently of great new groups on the scene. Outside Track. Full Set. Morga. Lots. There is none better than Chicago Reel. The group is out with a brand new, self-titled album that was launched September 16th at Chief O’Neill’s pub in Chicago. We don’t have space to go into each individual player in the sextet.  What we can tell you is that this group is simply another link in the chain that has established Chicago as the pre-eminent city in the world, outside of Ireland, for Irish music. This is sensational stuff. We featured the world premiere of the album on our radio show, Ireland Tonight, with a live hour in studio with the group. We had a ball. More importantly, we were stunned by the quality of the music brought to the table by this new force on the scene. We hope Chicago Reel stays together a long, long time. This is something special. Track this album down.  Do your work.  Superior vocals and instrumentals. Get it!!!

Speaking of radio shows and techy stuff, be sure to listen to Ireland Tonight every Monday night on or 90.9 fm at 8pm Chicago time. The best in Trad Music. In other words, real Irish music. Check out the Website, and go to the Facebook page, Ireland Tonight, and LIKE us!  Heck, we like YOU.

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Comment by Imelda on October 12, 2011 at 15:37

The Chicago Reel launch party was the best!
AND---LOVE Seamus Begley...what a great title for an album, too!

THANKS for your reviews!

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