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The Diamond Mountain Sessions

Sharon Shannon

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Album Review

While Sharon Shannon is perhaps best known as a talented fiddle and accordion player in Celtic circles, The Diamond Mountain Sessions should broaden her appeal. This album finds her joined by a multitude of talent, including luminaries such as John Prine, Jackson Browne, and Steve Earle. Since Shannon is primarily a musician and not a singer, the album also contains a number of fine instrumentals. Things get started with "A Costa de Galicia," a lovely jig full of intricate accordion work, and the pipes of Carl Nunez. Next up is a hard, driving Earle song, "The Galway Girl," that is immediately likable and will remind many of his best acoustic work. Browne's vocal on "Man of Constant Sorrow" is enriched by the addition of Mary Staunton on backing vocals, while Dessie O'Hollaran offers a more traditional take on "Say You Love Me." It is probably inevitable that Americana radio will push the vocal tracks, and while this isn't a bad thing, the instrumental tracks have just as much to offer. The Woodchoppers join Shannon on the lovely "The Pernod Watlz," while Liz and Yvonne Kane join her on the medley of tunes titled "Fire in the Bellies." Even though a number of players are present on each track, the arrangements are never crowded. Instead, the sound is open and airy. It is nice that artists like Shannon have been given the freedom to make albums that are stylistically all over the map like The Diamond Mountain Sessions. This broad musical palette serves to show that Americana and Celtic have a lot in common, and gives fans of either style a nice way to expand their tastes. Shannon's confident debut on Compass shouldn't be missed. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Born: June 08, 1968 in Corrofin, County Clare, Ireland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Sharon Shannon is at the head of a list of Irish musicians spearheading a broadening of the traditional music horizons. Thoroughly versed in Irish music, she has not been afraid to mix her playing on accordion and fiddle (she's a double threat) with all manner of different styles — from reggae to country. Growing up in North County Clare, long a hotbed of traditional music, she was encouraged by local music teacher Frank Custy — her siblings...
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The Diamond Mountain Sessions, Sharon Shannon
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