This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 9/98
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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This first solo release by Cape Breton singer-songwriter, Cyril MacPhee, provides excellent musicianship, unambiguous, emotive lyrics, and the welcome sound of MacPhee's tenor voice.
Backed by the exceptional playing of J.P. Cormier (fiddle) and Curly Boy Stubbs and Gordie Sampson (guitar), among others, MacPhee's clear, crisp singing stands out as a nice change-of-pace in a folk world often peopled by performers offering songwriting or instrument-playing as their major strengths.
Both "Harbourtown" and "We'll All Come Back Again" weave together the joy that you can go home again (Harbourtown), with home being where you find the most acceptance for who you really are as a person (We'll All Come Back Again).
"When I Say I Do," written by MacPhee and Arnold Sampson as a wedding day gift for friends, has a sound that could easily crossover to today's Nashville music.
J.P. Cormier's mandolin and fiddle-playing are highlights on "L'Acadie," a song written to keep the memory fresh regarding the forced separation of Acadian families and friends years ago. As MacPhee indicates in his liner notes, "...I felt this message needed to be heard again since events of this type still occur in our world."
Lennon and McCartney's sweet song, "I Will," is covered in a fresh and inventive way. MacPhee's voice combines well with Cindy Church's background vocals. Matthew Foulds' use of the djambe is a nice touch here.
"Arm of Gold," again featuring J.P. Cormier on fiddle, refers to the ability of the best fiddle players to fuse the soul and fiddle as one, and transport themselves and listners to a different world through their playing.
The cajun-style tune, "Fait Do Do," provides a lively and uptempo addition to the release and the traditional "Geordie," with nice fiddle (Graham Townsend) and bohdran (Matthew Foulds) backing, is also covered well here.
"Counting My Blessings In Two" is a reflective song about being satisfied with who and where you are as a person. It is one of the highlights of this album, with the quiet musical support of Mike Francis and Curly Boy Stubbs on guitar and Al Bennet on bass.
MacPhee ends the release with another standout cut "I'm On My Way," another song of returning that is reminiscient in style to "Shenandoah." Bruce MacPhee on the pipes adds a haunting element to the song.
This is mainly a soft, unpretentious album that fits well in the folk world but also has cuts that could spill over to Nashville or even the pop music genre. MacPhee is a superb singer who also plays guitar on most of the cuts on this release. This would be a good selection to listen to on those long, cold nights when you're in front of the fireplace taking a look at your life.
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