Devon Leger's Blog (30)

Album Review - Rose Flanagan & Laura Byrne/Forget Me Not

My favorite topic of conversation in Celtic music is always the difference between Irish and Irish-American music. Few people even admit there is a difference and fewer still can put their finger on it, but I’m convinced that there are differences between Irish-American music in the States and music back in the home country. The new album, Forget Me…

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Added by Devon Leger on July 31, 2014 at 0:30 — No Comments

A Conversation with Kris Drever

We make no secrets about our fandom of Scottish (Orcadian to be more specific) singer and songwriter Kris Drever here at Hearth Music. We’ve written about most of his projects, especially his duo with Irish banjo player/guitarist Eamonn Coyne (…

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Added by Devon Leger on July 9, 2014 at 3:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Eamonn Coyne & Kris Drever / Storymap

On paper, this album shouldn’t work as well as it does, and that’s really the magic at the heart of the collaboration between Irish tenor banjo player/mandolinist Eamonn Coyne and Orkney singer and guitarist Kris Drever.…

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Added by Devon Leger on February 13, 2014 at 19:30 — 1 Comment

Album Review - This Is How We Fly

 The first time I heard the new album from This is How We Fly, I jumped on Facebook to proclaim, “if you want to know what Irish traditional music will sound like in 50 years, you should listen to This is How We Fly.” It was a bold claim, but I stand by what I said and still believe fully that this supergroup of young musicians is making music now that…

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Added by Devon Leger on February 13, 2014 at 19:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Emily Portman / Hatchling

There’s something deeply ancient in Emily Portman’s voice. The kind of ancient that used to trip my imagination as a young boy reading stories of the English countryside. There’s an undercurrent in British folk music of the pagan. It’s just beneath the surface, mostly unseen, and it’s in many aspects of…

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Added by Devon Leger on November 1, 2013 at 23:30 — 1 Comment

Album Review - Smithsonian Folkways / Classic Celtic Music

I've got to give big kudos to elder record label Smithsonian Folkways for putting out this eclectic and somewhat daring release of Celtic music from their huge archives. They've gotten some flack from other people about whether or not every track on this release is truly Celtic (the British folk and French-Canadian folk sections seem to piss…

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Added by Devon Leger on September 11, 2013 at 21:00 — No Comments

Album Review - Shane McAleer / Long Time No See

I've missed Shane McAleer! I knew him mostly as the impossibly fiery fiddler for Dervish back in the day. Always an Irish super-group, the core players of Dervish in the early days lit up every stage they were on purely through the sheer power of their musicianship and the speed and dexterity of…

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Added by Devon Leger on September 9, 2013 at 19:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Mick O'Brien, Emer Mayock, Aoife Ní Bhriain / Tunes from the Goodman Manuscripts

I haven’t been seeing as much Irish trad music sourced from old archives these days, but that just might be owed more to the state of my inbox than anything else. Regardless, these three young Irish musicians – fiddler Aoife Níhave produced a gem of an album by going way back to an early source: the Goodman manuscripts. Here’s how Nicholas…

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Added by Devon Leger on August 14, 2013 at 3:00 — No Comments

Album Review - Childsplay / As the Crow Flies

New England fiddle super-group Childsplay always needs a bit of an explanation. Not musically, but conceptually: the group is formed of stringed instrumentalists who are all playing instruments made by renowned violinmaker Bob Childs, hence the name…

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Added by Devon Leger on August 14, 2013 at 3:00 — No Comments

Album Review - The Paul McKenna Band / Elements

I kind of think of The Paul McKenna Band as a Scottish version of Solas. Maybe it’s just me, but their tight-as-roofing-nails arrangements, adventurous choice of songs that will stick with you, and hell-for-leather instrumental tune…

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Added by Devon Leger on August 14, 2013 at 2:30 — 1 Comment

Album Review - Battlefield Band / Room Enough For All

Battlefield Band have been the flagship band of Scottish traditional music for what feels like years now. Literally. The band has been around since 1969 and has over 30 albums released. No original members remain at this point, as the band's basically been adopted by a new generation of Scottish…

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Added by Devon Leger on August 14, 2013 at 2:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Les Chauffeurs à Pieds / Les chats jaunes ne meurent jamais

Technically this album came out in 2012, but since it wasn’t released outside of Canada, I figure it counts as new. Les Chauffeurs à Pieds have long held the torch as one of the best bands of young traditionalists in Québécois roots music. Their newest album,…

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Added by Devon Leger on August 14, 2013 at 2:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Barrule / Barrule

Released in 2012, but not yet released stateside, this album is a pure delight from start to finish. Anyone schooled in the Celtic lands knows that Manx music, or music from the Isle of Man, figures into the Celtic cultures, but until now I’d had really no chance to hear this music. On their debut album, the three lads in Barrule – Tomás Callister on…

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Added by Devon Leger on August 14, 2013 at 2:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Mick Conneely & David Munnelly / 'Tis What It Is

I’m not sure how Irish accordionist David Munnelly and Irish fiddler Mick Conneely first met, but bless whatever strange muse brought together these two Irish trad musicians at the top of their game. Their new album “’Tis What It Is” is a revalation, a truly…

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Added by Devon Leger on June 27, 2013 at 7:00 — No Comments

Album Review - Yves Lambert Trio / Trio

I've got a huge love for the music of Québécois folk legend Yves Lambert. To me, he is one of the two great voices of Québec (the other being his former bandmate from La Bottine Souriante, André Marchand), with a voice that embodies the truly Québécois lust-for-life. Thankfully Yves has been getting his due as…

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Added by Devon Leger on June 13, 2013 at 19:30 — No Comments

Irish Fiddler Seamus Connolly Receives a 2013 National Heritage Fellowship

Irish fiddler Seamus Connolly has been awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. This is the highest honor the US government can grant to a traditional artist and a recognition of Connolly's lifetime dedication to traditional Irish music as a performer, teacher, and…

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Added by Devon Leger on June 5, 2013 at 21:30 — No Comments

Album Review - The Family Carr



Kevin Carr's one of my favorite fiddlers and an all around great guy. For years, he's been teaching fiddle at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and he's always quick to help anyone starting out on this difficult and demanding instrument. As fiddler, his style draws from many different traditions–and he's one of the few fiddlers I know who's proficient and respected in each of these…

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Added by Devon Leger on May 23, 2013 at 17:00 — No Comments

Album Review - The Onlies / Setting Out To Sea

Three of the best and brightest young folk and Celtic musicians in Seattle teamed up to make The Onlies. I know these kids well and they've got that wonderful, boundless enthusiasm of youth, and it shows on their second album, Setting Out To Sea. They've matured considerably since their…

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Added by Devon Leger on May 23, 2013 at 1:00 — 2 Comments

Album Review - Kiérah / Stonemason's Daughter

Growing up the youngest of seven children in British Columbian stonemason family with strong Irish historical roots, Kierah must have felt a real need to stand out, and stand out she does with her newly released album. It's not just her technical prowess as a traditional fiddler that makes her new album, Stonemason's Daughter, note-worthy, it's her touch…

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Added by Devon Leger on May 23, 2013 at 0:30 — No Comments

Album Review - Celtic Fiddle Festival / Live in Brittany

Celtic Fiddle Festival. Live in Brittany, 20th Anniversary Concert.

2013. Loftus Music.



Hard to believe it's been 20 years since the first Celtic Fiddle Festival album. I must have been 12 or 13 years old and I got that first album for…

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Added by Devon Leger on May 8, 2013 at 23:00 — No Comments

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