Album Review - Enda Seery / Peace of the Countryside

Peace of the Countryside is the second album from Enda Seery and follows very much in the footsteps of his debut The Winding Clock which he released over two years ago. We spoke to him recently and he confirmed that he learned a lot from his debut album and has channelled all that learning back into this release. It’s a great follow up with his playing still retaining all the essential ingredients that makes him one of the most exciting talents on whistle to emerge in some time. His playing  is strong, expressive and contains the self assured confidence of a musician on the rise.  Some small additional ornamental techniques have been added to his playing style in a continuing development of his music. A lot of this he picked up on the Masters course in Traditional Irish Music Performance in Limerick University last year where he found inspiration from some seasoned professionals like Kevin Crawford and Mary Bergin.  With regard to this release Enda has given a lot of thought to the overall product and not just the music.  This for the listener is very important and can sometimes get overlooked by musicians.

Positive number one is the mixture of traditional tunes and self compositions. Nine new compositions out of just over 30 tunes on the album. This is just about right. New is definitely good, but the audience also like to hear what can be done with the old standards like Tatter Jack Walsh, The Hag with The Money and The Scholar for instance. These tunes are managed in a restrained and finely crafted manner with nice touches of variation. Positive number two, three and four are the inclusion of a couple of songs, some flute tracks and a duet with James Hughes on fiddle. This provides a nice variety and a break from the whistle itself. Enda's singing is the surprise package because there is a voice in there. Slightly more subdued than necessary on It's A Working Man I Am but still surprisingly good. There are many more positives including John Byrne on guitar who provides some stellar accompaniment. John is a long time musical partner of Enda's and it shows on the tracks in question. There are some beautifully arranged sets including a tune learned from Sean Ryan called Peggy in the Settle paired with a self composition called Day Trip to Galway which is a great reel. Santa Cruz/Friends from the States are a pair of new compositions as well, played on flute with piano accompaniment. A Peadar O' Riada composition called Jearóid is also a standout tune for its mellow tone and feel, played again on flute by Enda.  Peace of the Countryside is a very rewarding and accomplished recording featuring not only some great music but also a composer of real worth. We have not had that many whistle albums of late and this is a very welcome addition, especially for whistle players, making  it well worth the investment.

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