Album Review - Kevin Madden / The Sugar Loaf

All Ireland winning fiddle player Kevin Madden from Manchester has crafted a beautiful restrained and measured album of traditional fiddle music.  His playing here is reserved, articulate and moderately paced, with ornamentation that equally fits this overall mood.  His reference to Kathleen Collins in the sleeve notes hints at the kind of fiddle album you can expect.  Kathleen’s own album was a classic and this follows in a similar presentation with the stark clarity of fiddle and piano combining to make some beautiful music.  He supplements the sound at various points with guitar, concertina and flute to give a fuller feel, but in truth this was not an essential requirement to make the album work.

I’m a fan of this type of sound anyway and the track below gives you a flavour of what its all about.  There are more tracks that have the same feel - Love at the Endings/Fairy Reel/Humours of Tulla, as well as the slip jigs Arra Mountains/Father Burkes.  He unearths a great set of jigs with special note going to a J Scott Skinner tune called So I’m off with the good St Nicholas Boat. Another equally melodic and marvellously presented tune is the Set Dance, Humours of Bandon. 2014 is proving quite a year for outstanding debut albums and in truth it is hard to fault the incredibly high standards being achieved.  This, for its pared back and simple approach works a treat. Words can only cover so much.  Listen to the audio and decide for yourself.  For me an album to play when inspiration is needed.

Read our Official Album Launch article.

To Download the Album click on the download logo below

Musicians :

Kevin Madden : Fiddle, Viola, button Accordion

Gerry Conlon : piano, piano accordion

Bernie Roberts : concertina

John Joe Kelly : bodhrán

Mike McGoldrick : flute

Noely Ryan : guitar

Tim Edey : guitar

Pat O'Reilly : bouzouki. 


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Comment by Michael Brooker on July 1, 2014 at 13:57


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