Traditional Irish Music
Since they formed in January 2011 The Bonny Men have started to make a name for themselves on the live circuit and we had the chance to see them recently at a charity concert where they did indeed impress. As traditional groups go they must be one of the largest with seven members in total covering fiddle, bodhrán, piano, uilleann pipes, bouzouki, flute and Tradconnect member Barry Lyons on guitar. The atmosphere that they generated at their live gig is captured here to a certain extent as the album was recoded live over four days at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. The album opens with two tracks of jigs and reels that are delivered uptempo with boundless energy and could easily be the closing encore at a live concert. They temper this with a slower more melodic set that is simply called The Slow Jigs including Elizabeth Kelly's Delight. The fiddle of Turlough Chambers comes very much to the fore on another very engaging set of reels that includes Caher Rua / The Kilcloon / The Reel of Mullinavat. This is a thundering set that really shows that these musicians can indeed deliver some great music.
The input into the album is also significant as in addition to the seven members themselves there are also four guest musicians. This includes Joey Doyle who has a vocal track to himself, as well as Aido Lawlor, Roisin Chambers and Ede Nic Mhathúna who also appears on a vocal track. These guest musicians fill out the album with a number of songs including Dig a Well and the closing number The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down. In a way the use of guest vocalists prevents the band from finding their own vocal identity and may be something that they can concentrate on for their next outing. This should not detract from what is an album full of bristling and exciting traditional music recorded live, with the associated edginess that you get from such endeavours. The youthful musical exuberance of The Bonny Men shines through on the tracks as they display an deep understanding of what works on their first recording. The Bonny Men are a group with immense potential and this can only get better as they tour this their very worthy debut album.
Buy and listen www.thebonnymen.ie
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