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Lots of mini-type reviews this month. As usual, they have backed up on the desk. The result? We bring you only the best of the best, as usual.

Ceol Sidhe features Steve Cooney, Charlie Lennon, and Michael Hynes on guitar, fiddle and concertina, respectively. There are 19 cuts on the album, each more brilliant than the other. Believe it or not, there are only two sets of reels! This album is adults playing Irish music. Perfectly. Not 305mph, like so many of today's children. If you love Irish traditional music, this is the perfect instrumental album. We know Copperplate in London has it.

Fiddle & Flute is by Blayne Chastain, Natalie Padilla, and Peter Romero. Another all-instrumental treat from this trio of flute, fiddle, and piano. Denver, Colorado? Who knew? A great album from really tasty musicians.

 

The Two Tap Trio is Nora Rendell on vocals and flute, Brian Miller on guitar, and Nathan Gourley on fiddle. The album’s title is A Night at the Fair. What a stunning piece of business from these Minnesota-based musicians. We get several albums a year that we just keep listening to, and this is one of them. This group is getting a lot of work and it is not hard to see why. Terrific.

 

The Morning Star is an absolutely stunning all-instrumental album from Marla Fibish and Jimmy Crowley. On the album, Marla plays mandolin and mandola. Jimmy is on bouzouki, dordan, mandolin, and mandocello. Apparently, the creative aim of the album was to let you hear what a number of the great tunes of Celtic music would sound like with only two stringed instruments being perfectly played. Or something. We are never sure about what musicians are trying to express artistically in an album, and we quite frankly don’t care. What we do care about is whether the album is fun to listen to, and played well. This album is both. These are two really superior musicians flexing their artistic muscles and giving us a rare treat. And, it is different. With just the two instruments, the melodies really stand out, and are gorgeous. A thorough winner.

 

Cathal Clohessy and Eamonn Costello are out with Bosca Ceoil & Fiddle. We know this one is also available from Copperplate in London, as it was they who brought it to our attention. We assume our pal, Jack Baker at Rampant Lion would also be able to get it. This all-instrumental treat of 14 cuts is only for the dyed-in-the-wool, honest-to-heavens trad fan. But if that describes you, this is a great piece of business that you will love. A lot of the tunes are rare treats to be recorded and recorded perfectly. We cannot urge this album upon the real trad fan highly enough. A must-have.

 

We feel that the next two albums we’re going to tell you about should be considered under one umbrella. Full Set is a brilliant-AND WE MEAN BRILLIANT-new group out of Ireland. The album is Notes at Liberty. It is vocal/instrumental at the highest level of the music. Sean McCarthy is on uilleann pipes, Michael Harrison on fiddle, Janine Redmond on button accordion, Teresa Horgan with flute and vocals, Eamonn Moloney on bodhran and Andrew Meaney on guitar. The two new groups that have really blown us out of the water lately are Outside Track, and now Full Set. Stunning. It can be argued that Outside Track is the hottest thing in traditional music right now.  Full Set will soon join them. They’re young, gifted, and understanding of the music far beyond their years. As we grow older, it becomes increasingly easy to dislike people like this. Unless, they’re this good. And, they are this good. Simultaneous with the release of Notes at Liberty is piper Sean McCarthy’s Halcyon Days. Of course, this features Sean playing his pipes and low whistles. He is joined by Fergal Scahill and Conal Early on guitars. What a brilliant solo and first album this is. We don’t know how young Sean is. We don’t want to even contemplate that. What does keep us up at night is how he got this good this young. Halcyon Days establishes Sean McCarthy in that small, but select group of the very best  world-class uilleann pipers. Stunning. Did we already say that? No matter. It is.

 

Hope you are tuning in every Monday night at 8 o’clock Chicago time for Ireland Tonight, WDCB 90.9 FM and www.wdcb.org for our weekly show of real Irish Music. And, visit our website www.irelandtonight.com and Facebook, Ireland Tonight. Like us! We want you part of the party! Traditional. All the way!

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Comment by Daithi Locha on August 15, 2011 at 20:43
He does?
Comment by Bill Margeson on August 15, 2011 at 19:01

Gee! This kid knows his music!!

 

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