Colm Phelan, also a member of Goitse, has gathered some exceptionally talented musicians around him for this his first solo album.  Solo might be a wrong description because we are treated to a number of duo and trio sets that allow his skills on bodhrán to shine.  All too often instruments can get lost on tracks as competing production requirements have to be met.  Not here, however.  What you get are some outstanding tracks with Colm showing his ability to follow every nuance and turn in a tune with a style and touch that never overplay his ability.  Restraint is as good a quality as bold exuberance and enthusiasm in music, and Colm knows how to deliver a tune in a manner that shows respect to the music and the tradition.

There are some great tracks here.  Tadhg O' Mechair on piano to Colm's beats on Tréighte is outstanding.  The Dawn Chorus with fiddle and bodhán is deliciously tasty with it's rawness.  Stephen Doherty, who we are a big fan of is equally restrained on Flanagan Meet O' Hanlon, a Johnny Óg Connolly/Brian McGrath composition.  With Áine Mc Geeney on fiddle and Seamie O' Dowd on guitar you have what makes for a very interesting and worthy outing.  To top it off you have Colm accompanying Sarah Jane Murphy on Puirt a Beul showing that he can step outside of the safety of instrumental tunes and their more defined rhythms.

It must also be added that it makes for an interesting change to have accompaniment instruments like the bodhrán take a more center stage role.  It allows the instrument to sit slightly higher in the final mix where you can get to hear and appreciate some of the more delicate technique going on.  Also don't be fooled into thinking that this is a bodhrán album alone.  True,  the bodhrán sits more predominately in the arrangements.  It is however the coming together of some very talented musicians that makes this a fine album.

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Comment by Mike Quinn on April 19, 2012 at 14:23

Couldn't agree more, excellent CD

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