A Review of the CD
by The Casey Neill Trio

by The Casey Neill Trio

Copyright 1999
Appleseed Recordings APR 1031
P.O. Box 2593
West Chester, PA 19380
ph: (610)701-5755

Traditional Productions
4505 University Way NE #136
Seattle, WA 98105

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 12/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Casey Neill, Zak Borden and Anthea Lawrence are unusual. No, no, not in the sense of some sort of personal propensities but because they form a musical all-terrain vehicle that covers a wide swath of territories. Uncategorizable, probably a genre unto themselves, they offer Celtic instrumentals, tinges of country, Scottish and Irish folk songs, environmental folk tunes and story ballads, all differently paced and most pulsing with energy and emotion. The most common denominators throughout this release are a rough-edged texture and a deep, sometimes mystical, connection to nature.

They come out blasting with "A Mighty Love," lyrically synthesizing freedom, love and creativity. Neill sings:

Backed by flute, whistle, mandolin and fiddle, the traditional "Hare of Kilgrain' has an interesting twist--it depicts a hunting party of humans and dogs chasing and killing a hare--from the viewpoint of the hare. "Okanogan County" has a more country sound to it as the band weaves a tale of traveling throughout the country but genuinely wishing to return to a place with a more comfortable, at-home feel, and a more natural setting, albeit one threatened by mining runoff.

"Scrounge Around" has an Ani DiFranco sound and feel as Neill, furious on the guitar, sings:

The ballad-like "Saints of the Ditches" has a brief mandolin opening joined by banjo and fiddle throughout, all in backing an angry tune of environmental concern about land ownership, history, water rights and logging.

The enchanting and thoughtful "Araby" is a mystical look at the inner hunger of consciousness as Neill sings:

The fast-paced "Hallowed Be Thy Ground" is an environmental blessing featuring upbeat banjo, mandolin and fiddle and invigorating harmonies by the trio on the chrous. The songs closes with this last stanza and chorus: The soothing traditional "Mingulay Boat Song" is the closer and an opportunity for the band to display its soft side.

This band is just a little bit different from most, and in this case, different, is good.

Neill on guitar and mostly lead vocals, Lawrence on fiddle and vocals and Borden on mandolin, mandola, harmonica, bodhran and vocals are backed by Hanz Araki on flute, whistle and shakuhatchi; Danny Barnes on banjo; Jason Montgomery on dobro; Nova Devonie on accordion and Bob Conger on drums and drumbek.

Track List:

All songs written by Casey Neill unless otherwise noted.

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