Album Review - Colin Nea / Between the Jigs & the Reels (With New Audio)

For anyone who has attended the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann finals that take place every year in Ireland you will no doubt be familiar with the feeling of sitting in on various competitions in awe of the raw talent that exists in this country.  The standards that are now being achieved from the age of 12, 15 and upwards is simply outstanding.  If you ever wondered what happens to some of this talent then pick up this album by Colin Nea.  A winner of back to back senior button accordion titles in 1993 and 1994 he would have been one to look out for and on this album he displays what got him those titles. In the 20 years that have elapsed he has developed his music and what is even more impressive is that he has kept his musical vision straight and true.  From opening note to final note this is as good an exposition of the art of button accordion playing as you will encounter.  Like a young Joe Burke it is powerful, driving and passionate music that loses none of its texture by adhering to Colin’s own inbuilt formula that has the tradition at its heart.

His style has developed over the years with his first teacher Ellen Comerford from Co. Westmeath laying down the foundation. From there the Late John Keenan and Joe Fallon were big influences as was the piper/flute player Joe Finn from Clara Co. Offaly.  Moving from Westmeath to Clare in 1999 Colin came into contact with great musicians like Michael Kelleher, Jerry Lynch, Joe Rynne, Christy Barry and others.  The Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna became a second home and it is in this pub that Colin decided to record most of the album with the accompaniment of Jack Talty on a piano that had just finished being reconditioned only two days before the recording.  It was a piano which was previously owned by the Late Garret Fitzgerald a former Irish Taoiseach.

There are two tracks mid way through that demonstrate the magic and melody that can emanate from his Pietro Mario accordion  when both belief and restraint are present. One is a set dance called The Roving Peddler and the other a new Planxty number called  Planxty 2000.  The first is a beautifully paced set dance sourced from Clare fiddler Seamus Connolly on which Colin shows the beauty, strength and confidence of his style.  The second is a new Planxty composition by Phil McMahon, again beautiful in its delivery with Jessica Nea aged 10 on fiddle as well.  Another generation with their future secured it would seem.  There are some outstanding tracks of music from the opening reels O'Leary's Ireland / The Whistler of Rosslea to new compositions like Sam's Delight and on to standards like The Lark on the Strand.  With a mixture of old and new tunes and a couple of great vocal performance by his sister Kathryn you have what is a classic button accordion recording by a musician who has delivered on his youthful promise and delivered in great style. Rhythm, ornamentation, expression and accompaniment are perfect and the quality of the music never lets up from start to finish.  A powerful and expressive player that will no doubt become a household name.

Listen and Buy : colinneamusic.com and cdbaby.com/cd/colinnea ( We always recommend a purchase from the artist website )

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Comment by TradConnect on June 15, 2013 at 21:25

We have added an audio track to this review. Hope you enjoy it. A great album from earlier in the year.

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