This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 7/03
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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If Mark Graham and Orville Johnson are the self-described Kings of Mongrel Folk, then The McKrells are the Princes of Mutt Music. For those assuming this description is a rather back-handed compliment, read on.
This band out of Saratoga Springs, New York (put me down for $20 on Lickety Split to show in the fifth), provides an amalgamation of folk, celtic, bluegrass and a touch of country in a tight, smooth and melodic mixture. The mainstays of banjo, guitar and fiddle intertwine with mandolin, percussion and dashes of tin whistle and button accordian, to provide smooth and enjoyable arrangements.
A combination of songs and a few instrumentals, the subject matter of this release is built mostly around peripatetic individuals and lifestyles, where home is where one finds oneself today or else a bittersweet memory of long ago.
With button accordian reflectively lazing in the background, "Carrick Fergus" is a prime example. A percussion-driven, edgy version of Ewan McColl's "Move" is another. Both of these well-known offerings are given first-rate re-introductions.
"Sleep" features a smooth bluegrassy twang. A fusion of bluegrass and country highlights "Take Care of Those Wings My Friend." The band closes with a hard-driving version of "The Star of Munster."
The song lyrics are fairly straightforward and engaging but the shining star here is the pleasing arrangements. Although at present this is primarily a regional band, it is composed of excellent musicians who genuinely deserve a much wider audience. If there is a God (or Goddess) in Heaven...
Kevin McKrell on guitar and vocals, is joined by Chris Leske on banjo, mandolin, guitar and vocals; Craig Vance on flatpick guitar and vocals; Brian Melick on percussion; Sara Milonovich on fiddle, viola and tin whistles; Scott Petito on bass; Steve Belcher on bass; and Jon Nolan on button accordian.
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