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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:
...when I was a child they said 'son, quit daydreaming'
as if it were some kind of sin
as if their cold world of numbers and ledgers
was more important than fantasy and vision..."
"Scrounge Around" has an Ani DiFranco sound and feel as Neill, furious on the guitar, sings:
...The rocks they will talk to you under the standing stones
in the corner the music rumbles and they play the pipes and bones
your eyes roll back as the bow attacks and you awake to feel
the flood of adrenaline in the fury of a Donegal reel..."
The enchanting and thoughtful "Araby" is a mystical look at the inner hunger of consciousness as Neill sings:
Little glimpses here and there between the toil and daily cares
caught in the barbs, traps and snares
on the road laid out before us
catch it in the alpine meadow blooms, petroglyphs and fading ruins
mangy hounds and ancient tunes at midnight in the kitchen
after all this time I well know
it takes sweat and blood for seeds to grow
and you gotta ward away the crows
that wish to feed upon your labor
but it's gotta be out there somewhere,
gotta be out there somewhere
Like Neruda to Matilde writes
the blessings of the blood of night
and how her face caught the light upon that Chilean island
I wish to capture in melody my overwhelming love of thee
you're a jewel of sun upon the sea
that I can't tear my eyes from
somewhere in the distance Rumi luaghs,
it's all so beautiful and sad
this spiritual fire burning
mystery that trancends our learning
and nothing can stop this yearning
and nothing can stop this yearning..."
Hallowed, hallowed be thy ground
and holy your blue ocean where the wild surf does pound
Hallowed, hallowed be thy ground
and all your mountains with glory crowned."
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.
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