This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 11/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Harmonically converging in Los Angeles from such disparate geographic points as London, Coventry, Cork City, Chicago and New York, the liveliness of this band of musicians would even get your austere Aunt Bridie out on the dance floor. Although in her case, she might justify her tripping the light fantastic under the camouflage of a "mass of celebration."
Blending guitar, mandolin, fiddle, whistle, accordion, and bouzouki, with a variety of both vocals and percussion instruments, Gaelic Storm offers a pleasing mix of traditional songs and others composed mainly by band members. Blended in are primarily fast-paced traditional instrumentals, some with a slight twist to their arrangement.
Opening the release is "The Beggarman," performed at warp speed in an almost Celtic hip-hop vein. The entertaining "Johnny Tarr" has a most unusual twist as the protagonist inexplicably expires in a pub from a most unusual cause.
"Swimmin' In The Sea" depicts the delight of childhood seaside vacations in the Cornwall area of England. The venerable "Black Is The Colour" is given a haunting guitar lead-in, amply aided by percussion and whistle. A sizeable age difference proves a major impediment to any possibilities of love developing in "Go Home, Girl!"
The Janis Ian-penned "Mary's Eyes" is an exquisitely touching inclusion. A sampling:
"Mary's eyes are startling blue"The Plouescat Races" are fiddle and percussion-driven reels, separated by a bit of mouth music and concluded with a whistle session. "Thirsty Work" is also a set of reels carried by whistle and percussion.
And her hair's Newcastle gold
And she walks the thin white line between the body and the soul
She's as faithful to her history
As a novice to his fast
For she's standing on the bones of Ireland's past...
Mary's wise as she is foolish
She's as constant as the tide
For it's a women's heart that beats beneath that stubborn Irish pride
We are saints and we are sinners
We are heroes we are thieves
We are all of us beginners on the road to Gaililee..."
Why listen to this band? The infectious energy of the music for starters. The invigorating use of percussion appears to be a Gaelic Storm trademark, playing an enjoyably prominent role in both their songs and instrumentals. The quality of the musicianship is excellent and they toss in just enough humor and melancholy to engage the scales of human emotion.
Making up the band are Patrick Murphy on vocals, piano accordion, spoons and harmonica; Steve Twigger on vocals, bouzouki, guitar and mandolin; Steve Wehmeyer on vocals, bodhran, didgeridoo and snare bodhran; Kathleen Keane on vocals, fiddle, whistle and button accordion; and Shep Lonsdale on djembe, doumbek, and surdo. Mike Porcaro plays bass as a guest artist.
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