Album Review - Fleadh / The Clegan Bay Disaster

Fleadh was formed in 1999 by the German Uilleann Pipe player Frank Weber and like a lot of bands went through a period of development.  Frank Dürschner (banjo, mando, harp ) and Tommy Gorny (guitar) have been with the band from the start with the addition of Irish singer songwriter Saoirse Mhór and fiddler Marcus Eichenlaub.  They first studio album Humpy n’ Lumpy released in 2010 received the award of Best German Folk Band from the German Musicians Union DRMV.  The new formation opened up possibilities for Mhór and his songwriting. The band returned from from holiday in Connemara inspired by the story of the 1927 Storm disaster that struck Connemara and Saoirse quickly set to work to come up with the title track for the album.

The album comprises Irish traditional tunes mixed in with some more folk/rock and blues inspired numbers. They opener is a Luka Bloom composition called Eastbound Train. Luca and his brother Christy Moore provide inspiration to a number of the tracks especially the new compositions. As a group, Fleadh have definitely moved in the right direction from their previous album Humpy 'N' Lumpy which was mostly covers.  Saoirse Mhór provides the new material  which includes Hill of Plenty, The Cleggan Bay Disaster, Row Home and The Curragh Song.  The stand out track is Row Home where Saoirse keeps the lyrics sparse and clear with a simple but effective refrain.  You could expect this song to be covered by other artists.  Some of the other songs lack this lyrical clarity but still show a strong trend in the right direction of mixing self compositions into the set. The Ballad of John B. Whistlin' is another strong blues inspired track that closes out the album. You can check the album out on their website

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