Album review - Mick Conneely & David Munnelly / 'Tis What It Is

'Tis what it is indeed. The coming together of Mick Conneely and David Munnelly brings with it a joyous and feverish selection of tunes that bristle with energy and pace.  It is definitely more in the style of early De Dannan than east Clare, springing as it does from the backgrounds of the musicians involved. Mick is one of the most respected musicians around and we have long admired his musical style.  He has played with a who's who of artists from De Danann to Noel Hill, Kevin Crawford and others. David has been surrounded by music from an early age and has likewise worked the circuit with Niamh Parsons, De Dannan, The Chieftains and others.

This is late at night virtuoso music with both musicians in full flight attacking the tunes with laughter in their cheekbones and sweat on their brows.  Raw energy with the bow flying across the strings in staccato style, with triplets and stops reigning down being very much the order of the day. It is most definitely the album you put on after the dinner party and not before, when you want to inject some life into proceedings. You can nearly hear the whoops from the corner as onlookers pray the dawn will never come and these musicians do not tire.  Just one more for the road. Musicians of this calibre can do it either way and the approach to the album has clear intent and purpose representing as it does something of the spirit within the musicians and within all of us.

There are 14 tracks in total with some well known tunes. Mostly comprising jigs and reels, they add one slow air on accordion to slow things down and let you catch your breath.  From the opening barn dances The High Caul Cap/Napolean Crossing the Alps to the fantastic closing set of reels The New-Mown Meadow/Big John McNeil/The Silver Spire you have what is described in the sleeve notes as "a raucous encounter between chaos and melody" It steps outside the boundaries in approach and delivers one of the most energetic albums you will hear this year.


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