Album Review - Bernadette Morris / All The Ways You Wander

All The Ways You Wander is the debut album from Tyrone songstress Bernadette Morris.  Its title is taken from the John Spillane song of the same name which is also included on the album. This is vintage Spillane indeed and Bernadette re-imagines it in her own individualistic way. As a singer Bernadette has been steadily building up her career, and following numerous appearances on BBC Radio Ulster’s Blas and the Gerry Anderson show she seems ready to make a deserved breakthrough. Other song choices on the album include a composition that deals with the emigration of the past and how it is prevalent yet again.  It’s a song called The Leaving Song and was written by Barry Kerr. It’s a welcome addition to the cannon of emigration songs and one wonders why there are not more of these creeping into the country’s already vast repertoire.  The album is a real treasure trove of great numbers with A Roving on A Winters Night being a standout track.  Bernadette gives a new lease of life to it with a faster rhythm and as she describes it and some "cool chords."  Very nice indeed.

We have highlighted Bernadette previously on Tradconnect and this album delivers on her already evident promise.  There is a very evenly balanced feel to the music as a result of the great team of musicians that she has assembled. Traditional interludes when they come on songs like Molly na gCuach Ní Chuilleanáinare are also well handled and sound authentically Irish. One set of instrumental jigs is also included with Ciaran Hanna leading it on concertina.  Like all of the tracks it is delicately arranged and played. In fact the inclusion of maybe one more instrumental set may have benefited the album and would have given her support players a bit of the limelight to display their musical wares.  The arrangements are layered with whistles, violin, bodhrán, bouzouki and shakers to surprisingly good effect.  They are never overpowering and always add just the right amount of finesse to compliment the tracks.  It's a strong debut and both vocally and musically the album finds a great balance. When it comes to end of year reflections this will be as good as any that may follow.

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