Album Review - Colm Gannon / The Rights of Man

This review was posted in July 2012.  We re-post as the album is now available for a great price of $6 from

 Colm Gannon has most definitely stepped it up a notch or two on his new album titled The Rights of Man.  It’s a follow up to his debut album Return To Droim.  For this outing he has brought along Alec Finn with his distinctive bouzouki style and Johnny “Ringo” McDonagh on bodhrán.  Also showing up is John Blake on guitar and piano.  John also engineered, mixed and recorded the album at his new Lion’s Den studio. Colm for his part was born in Dorchester in Boston of Connemara parents where he now resides and plays a lot of his music.

 This is solid engaging traditional music that shows Colm as one of the new breed of musicians that are starting to make a real impact on the traditional scene.  His music seems more mature than his years would indicate.  His is a highly ornamented style of music executed in a natural free flowing style. The well know jigs Banish Misfortune/Morrison’s are an unaccompanied set and are engaging throughout. They show just where the music can be taken to when you have the musical expression that Colm displays behind you.  This version of Morrison’s is a three part learned from the playing of Padraig O’ Keefe.  The complexity of his musical expression is even more evident on his hornpipes especially Galway Bay/The Newcastle as well as Murphy’s/The Cuckoo.  You can really appreciate his style with consecutive triplets, rolls, flourishes and runs across the buttons.  Glorious music indeed.   His bass interplay on sets like Calleach an Airgid is exemplary and in the same set Paidin O’ Rafferty’s never sounded so good.  For The Merry Merchant/Miss McDonalds/Drag her around the Road Colm is joined by his wife Kelly on concertina, and with John Blake's superb piano accompaniment you have a very engaging set of reels.

Tune selection is always interesting and on this he has sourced tunes from many places, mainly old cylinder recordings from the 1880’s to the early 1900’s, and the 78 recordings.  Many have also been sourced from rare home recordings and the music that was around him in his youth.  He was taught a lot at home by his father John and brother Sean and so has been able to absorb and reflect on the components of the Connemara style.  From that he has developed it to find his own style and identity.  Like a good wine Colm’s style has grown, developed and matured into a new enlivened vintage that is Connemara through and through, with a solid rhythm and a sweetness to the ear.  If you could bottle his music it would not remain too long in the cellar before the temptation to consume it would overcome you.  This is complex, sweet and superbly executed traditional accordion music by a musician who has absorbed its finer qualities and in his own style delivers 14 great tracks.

Listen and Buy : or his website

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Comment by Sarah Elizabeth on September 5, 2012 at 10:53

Just stumbled upon this. Great review! I definitely agree. This album is a treat!


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