Traditional Irish Music
With the William Butler Yeats, 150th Anniversary just behind us, it was inevitable that his poetry would once again resonate with some of our finest musicians. Today we have an exclusive premiere of a track from the new album by Joe K. Walsh called Borderland, and it features his interpretation of one of Yeats' most famous poems, The Lake Isle of Innisfree.
Joe K. Walsh is a mandolinist, songwriter and acclaimed master of American roots music. Originally from Minnesota and now relocated to Portland, Maine, USA he has toured with countless artists, collaborated with other master musicians like Darol Anger and the Gibson Brothers, founded progressive stringband Joy Kills Sorrow in the early 2000s, and is currently on faculty at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.
On the Yeats connection Walsh says : "I've always connected with Yeats, or at least a couple of his pieces. His poem the Fiddler of Dooney really speaks to the crisis a musician sometimes has, wondering what music is for and what it does for others. And of course it could be about anyone on the creative path, worrying about the value of spending a life creating things that can sometimes feel trivial.”
“That ability to speak to an experience that rings true across cultures and swaths of time is what drew me to his poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree. I live up in Maine, a quieter, slower part of the country, and his thoughts about getting away from it all and slowing down really resonated.”
The album includes a second track also inspired by the lake. “We tried to set the slow, peaceful scene in the instrumental tune (the Bee-Loud Glade) that Brittany Haas and I wrote to follow Innisfree." Joe says.
For those of you that like to venture outside of Irish trad, his new album has been described “an exercise in subtlety and careful creation.” It brings together Joe K. Walsh’s frequent collaborators like seminal old-time fiddler Bruce Molsky, innovative bluegrass guitarist Courtney Hartman (of Della Mae), in-demand fiddler Brittany Haas (of Dave Rawlings Machine), blazing bluegrass banjo player Gabe Hirshfeld (of The Lonely Heartstring Band), and eclectic bassist Karl Doty. Turning through songs he wrote, or setting the words of Yeats to music, and picking out instrumental tunes of his own creation, Walsh plays and sings with the kind of ease that comes from years of practice and creation.
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