Album Review - Haley Richardson / Heart on a String (with Dylan Richardson)

The New York traditional community is strong at nurturing talent and the support of musicians like Brian Conway and John Whelan has enabled this recording to come to fruition.  Haley Richardson is a precocious​ young talent, and with the help of Brian, John and others has made this recording. There have been a number of videos featuring Haley circulating on the various social media channels. They are significant because at the age of 12, Haley already displays a deep and innately felt understanding of this music. This is the new Liz Carroll in waiting and over the next decade or two her obvious talent will certainly grow and flourish.

As a record it captures a moment in time. Her musicianship at this age is as good if not better than her contemporaries that compete each year in the All Ireland.  As good as this recording is, and it is good, you sense that she has a lot more to give. The arrangements are carefully approached and are presented with a firm hand on rhythm and variation.  The opening reel Porthole of the Kelp has a crisp clarity of expression with ornamentation and variations.  She boldly introduces a self-composition called The Comet on the second set.  It’s a challenging enough jig that is paired with two well know tunes, Ahern’s Egg and Tatter Jack Walsh.  She is joined by mentor and teacher Brian Conway on a glorious set of hornpipes called The Eclipse/The Sunshine. A constant companion throughout is the equally impressive guitar work of brother Dylan. For those learning fiddle, you get a real sense of the structure and variation of the tunes. It will be interesting to follow her career and watch her music develop.  Let’s hope that she follows the heart of the tradition and aims to deliver a classic fiddle album in the vein of Collins, Conway or the great Tommy Peoples. Just fiddle with guitar or piano and music that will inspire.  She has this within her grasp and this recording is a promise of great things to come.

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