This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 5/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Opening with the rollicking "Shores of Americay," backed by bodhran, banjo and guitar, Paul McGraw immediately introduces the listener to his pleasing and authoritative voice. The next cut, "Sail To The Sea," a tale of a sailor's love for the sea in competition with the woman awaiting his return, McGraw and partner, Connie Doucet, trade lead vocals in an agreeable combination.
Known as Connie and Paul, Doucet and McGraw present an enjoyable, eclectic mix of self-penned tune and traditional songs--some straight folk, others more celtic-flavored. An added bonus is that this release is loaded with 15 cuts.
The title cut, "My Father's Songs," is a mostly understated tribute to the songs that celebrate past life in New Brunswick. However, the song's chorus adds force and feeling, evocatively changing to a faster pace in detailing names and places warm to the hearts of the inhabitants of New Brunswick.
Performing an invigorating version of "Will Ye No Come Back Again," Doucet and Paul bring back to life the call and longing for Bonnie Prince Charlie to return. Doucet shines solo and in harmony with McGraw on "The Fields of Athenry," the sad tune of love thwarted by the imprisonment of a man convicted of stealing grain in order to feed his family during the Great Famine. His fate is deportation to Australia.
Doucet's vocals are splendid on the traditional "The Water Is Wide." With soft fiddle backing in the latter part of the song, her rendition is a gratifying version of this well-known tune. Doucet also provides a solid version of the well-worn "Danny Boy."
Backed by guitar and banjo, Doucet leads off and then is joined by McGraw on "Home Once Again." This tale about the bonds of love enduring through the choices, good and bad, hard work and drudgery of life is an endearing one.
Closing with "Leave Her Johnny, Leave Her," McGraw starts off and is then joined by Doucet on this traditional and heartfelt tune. Their harmonies on this last offering are an appropriate touch in finishing this release.
There are no slick bells-and-whistles on this release, just a straightforward, warm offering built around strong vocals and pleasing presentations of some familiar and some unfamiliar compositions. That's enough.
Doucet, on vocals, penny whistle, and bodhran, and McGraw, on vocals, guitar, and bodhran are backed by Brian Doherty on bass; Dave MacIsaac on fiddle; and Kevin Evans on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and background vocals.
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