Album Review - The Willis Clan / Chapter One - Roots

With its mixture of traditional, pop and folk this new album by The Willis Clan is a highly polished and professional piece of work. A family of 12 The Willis Clan have been making inroads to a wider international audience, deservedly so. They can trace their roots back to their Scotch-Irish ancestors in the early 1600's and to their great grandparents band in the 1900's. It seems therefore that music is well and truly in their blood. Firstly, this is all original music and it comes with very high production values, multi layered arrangements and solo flourishes from individual members across many tracks. There are many moments of high creativity where instruments like guitar, bodhrán and fiddle fuse seamlessly. This is just the case on Boys From Boston. Syncopated rhythms inject it with fresh breath with whistle and bodhrán having their moments in the limelight.

This is solid and inspiring music from a talented group of musicians. As a counterbalance to the up tempo numbers, there are mellow introductions with whistle and piano on The Rambler. Wonderful vocal harmonies on Ship of The Line show the sensitive side to the group. There are traces of Bill Whelan’s Riverdance on Maranatha’s Wedding and tracks like the closing one called Blast O’ Reels bring a vibrant fluency to the music. It is as good an album as you will find and with repeated listens reveals even further hidden nuggets of interest. Having all original material provides added value to the whole package. With inspiration coming from a long line of bands like Lúnasa, Solas, Grada and Beoga and with guest musicians Eamon Murray, Trevor Hutchinson, Frances Cunningham and Jeff Cox you have what is a thoroughly enjoyable, creative and well produced album.

You can listen to most tracks and purchase on www.thewillisclan.com

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