Tony Lawless's Blog (346)

Album Review : Conor Caldwell & Danny Diamond / North

Taking older and simpler tunes and finding new avenues of expression, is at the heart of North, a very fine collection of fiddle music from Belfast-born musicians Conor Caldwell and Danny Diamond.

Last year Diamond released an acclaimed solo fiddle album called…

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Added by Tony Lawless on November 8, 2016 at 10:30 — No Comments

Album Review : Goitse / Inspired By Chance

'Inspired by Chance' is the latest release by a band that have always had a very distinctive sound.  The fresh and spacious approach to their arrangements, the free roving banjo of James Harvey, and the duets within tracks set them apart. Reflective interludes and melodies that momentarily suspend in mid-air, in search of wider vistas…

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Added by Tony Lawless on June 27, 2016 at 12:30 — No Comments

Album Review : Kern / False Deceiver

Louth band Kern have delivered a debut album of real merit with False Deceiver.

It is so difficult these days to make a traditional folk album that stands out from the crowd, and that is what Kern have unquestionably achieved in this instance.

What drives it is a combination of many…

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Added by Tony Lawless on June 9, 2016 at 6:00 — No Comments

Live Review : Dan Gurney & Dylan Foley / St. David's Church Dublin, 30th April 2016

It seems fitting that a centuries old church on the back roads of North County Dublin should be brought to life on a Saturday night with music which is nearly as old. The Church is St. David’s in Kilsallaghan and the backdrop to the stage was a stained glass window donated 99 years ago this April by the family of a churchwarden who…

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Added by Tony Lawless on May 2, 2016 at 13:00 — No Comments

Album Review : Aoife Scott / Carry The Day

This debut release by Dublin folk singer Aoife Scott delivers a very satisfying mix of new material alongside some equally admirable covers. The pressure of being part of the Black family with mother, Frances, and aunt, Mary, having established such strong reputations before her, seems not to have affected her approach.…

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Added by Tony Lawless on March 21, 2016 at 15:00 — No Comments

Album Review : Éamonn O’Riordan and Tony O’Connell / Rooska Hill

Rooska Hill by Éamonn O’Riordan and Tony O’Connell, is without doubt one of the highlights of 2015. It is about as good as it gets, when it comes to a traditional recording, and it captures the vibrancy and authenticity that can elude many an artist.…

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Added by Tony Lawless on January 8, 2016 at 15:30 — 1 Comment

Album Review : Dessie Kelliher, Brian O’Loughlin & Tom Delany / Well For Some

This is just the tonic for any weary souls that are in need of a shot of inspiration. Dessie Kelliher, Brian O’Loughlin and Tom Delany effortlessly glide their way through nine inspiring sets of traditional music. No filler, no songs, just straight up trad.

It comes complete with the…

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Added by Tony Lawless on November 18, 2015 at 9:30 — 2 Comments

Album Review - Tríona Marshall / Between Two Ways

Harp music seems to be making a resurgence of late, in a manner that is lifting it from its stately ‘airs and graces’ perception.  This new release by Tríona Marshall shows just how far boundaries can be pushed.  Listen to the opening track on this recording, a duet with Tim Edey,…

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Added by Tony Lawless on November 16, 2015 at 18:00 — No Comments

Album Review : We Banjo 3 / Live in Galway

You have to admire We Banjo 3.  Each project or recording they make continues to impress. In releasing a live album they needed to differentiate it from their studio recordings, and to do this they introduced a brass section and invited some friends along for the party.  Recorded live at The Roisin Dubh, Galway, the resultant album is full of…

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Added by Tony Lawless on November 11, 2015 at 13:00 — No Comments

Album Review : Conor O'Sullivan / Good Day Señor

This is a compelling collection of new songs, by Conor O'Sullivan, an artist that first came to prominence with folk outfit Deluce's Patent, some years back. An undertaking to lay down some demo tracks grew into a full-blown album. This may have reduced the pressure, and the resultant album has that air of quiet confidence about…

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Added by Tony Lawless on November 2, 2015 at 15:00 — No Comments

Album Review : Oisín & Conal Hernon / Across the Sound

Across the Sound is the latest recording from Inis Mór residents Oisín and Conal Hernon. They have previously recorded in 2008 on an album called Up and Coming / Ó Ghlúin go Glúin. This however is different, as it comprises all new compositions from the brothers. We…

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Added by Tony Lawless on October 30, 2015 at 16:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Ladlane / Crossing the Liffey

We have become so oversupplied with great albums of late that many are quietly slipping through with little fanfare.  This is the first studio album from a trio that have been busy crafting their music in Dublin’s Temple Bar area on a weekly basis. Featuring Eugene Quinn on guitar and banjo, Ray Dempsey on accordion and Colm Keane on…

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Added by Tony Lawless on October 23, 2015 at 11:00 — 1 Comment

Album Review - Bríd Harper

Combining elements of solo fiddle of the most exquisite kind, with high energy numbers, delivers one of this year’s best traditional albums.  The album shifts between solo excursions that display Bríd’s unquestioned talent, with larger ensemble numbers that are as good as any you will hear.  Her team of players include John Doyle, Seán Óg Graham, Trevor Hutchinson, John…

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Added by Tony Lawless on October 6, 2015 at 10:30 — No Comments

Album Review : Kenny Donagher & Kerrie Herrity / Box & Banjo

Out of the fertile ground of Sligo comes this recording that combines banjo and box for the first time, in quite a while.  The sparring partners are Luton born, and now Sligo resident, Kerrie Herrity on banjo, and Sligo native Kenny Donagher.

Within the 14 tracks there is a scattering of familiar…

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Added by Tony Lawless on October 2, 2015 at 19:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Buttons & Bows / The Return of Spring

It takes four stalwarts of the tradition to lead the way when it comes to unearthing a magical and fresh sounding album.  Jackie Daly, Séamus and Manus McGuire and Garry O’Briain have travelled extensively over the years. The origins of the group are very much connected with North America, and this influences their material and…

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Added by Tony Lawless on September 29, 2015 at 7:00 — No Comments

Album Review : Lisa Ward / Black Swan

There is a hidden depth to this debut album by All-Ireland Champion fiddler, Lisa Ward.  The clarity and versatility of her ornamentation in particular stands out. She includes only two solo fiddle tracks, which open and close the album, and they are gritty and stark in their setting, revealing the expressive nature of her playing. They include The…

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Added by Tony Lawless on September 20, 2015 at 12:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Teresa Horgan & Matt Griffin / Brightest Sky Blue

Teresa Horgan and Matt Griffin have crafted a delicious slice of folk heaven on this debut recording.  Its instant appeal comes from the addition of some well-orchestrated arrangements with strings and woodwind.  Even so, without this extra element it would still be a good folk album. With it, however, you have the best…

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Added by Tony Lawless on August 21, 2015 at 12:30 — 1 Comment

Album Review - Dylan Foley & Dan Gurney / Irish Music from the Hudson Valley

Irish Music from the Hudson Valley is a tribute to Father Charlie Coen and Mike McHale. Both emigrated to the US in the 50’s and found their way to the Catskill’s where they taught music to a young Foley and Gurney who were beginning their journey into traditional music. Foley and Gurney are now best…

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Added by Tony Lawless on August 20, 2015 at 16:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Ian Carr & Karen Tweed / SHHH

SHHH was first released in 1995, and has been unavailable for the last decade or so.  Karen Tweed was a founding member of The Posies and later played with Ian Carr as part of the Kathryn Tickell Band. They had previously met at a festival and Carr’s distinctive guitar style had impressed Tweed. This is a digital re-issue and the merits…

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Added by Tony Lawless on July 25, 2015 at 12:00 — No Comments

Album Review - Four Winds

This much anticipated release brings together a quartet of musicians who have established outstanding individual reputations on the trad scene. The resultant album is strong both musically and vocally. A distinctive male vocal sets it apart from other releases with Daoirí Farrell’s voice combining robustly with Tom Delany on pipes and whistles, Caroline Keane on…

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Added by Tony Lawless on July 6, 2015 at 13:30 — No Comments

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