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Wandering Home

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Album Review

Wandering Home is an apt title for Maura O'Connell's first all-Irish album since leaving the Old Sod. The players are a who's who of modern Celtic music — among them guitarist Arty McGlynn, fiddler Ciaran Tourish (of Altan), and bouzouki player Donal Lunny — and the tunes are mostly traditional, if not always rendered in a strictly traditional style. For instance, there are shades of Roy Orbison in the more operatic moments of "I Hear You Calling Me," and her bluesy adaptation of an old folk tune such as "Irish Blues" has more than a hint of Billie Holiday to it. Needless to say, these are not the strongest tracks on the album. The transcendent moments come on the more hardcore trad numbers — her heartbreaking rendition of "Teddy O'Neil," her revelatory take on the old chestnut "Down by the Sally Gardens" — and on the startlingly out-of-place "Down Where the Drunkards Roll," which is one of the grimmest songs Richard Thompson ever wrote, but which O'Connell manages to imbue with a warmth and humanity miles removed from the jaded resignation of Linda Thompson's original version. Jerry Douglas is a brilliant producer and knows just how to showcase O'Connell's stunning voice.

Biography

Born: November 16, 1958 in County Clare, Ireland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

Maura O'Connell embodies many paradoxes: lead singer for De Danann, she was not a traditional Celtic singer; resident of Nashville, she is not American; collaborator with New Grass Revival, she is not a bluegrass performer. Nevertheless, O'Connell has made a name for herself on two continents as a superb singer. O'Connell was born and raised in County Clare, Ireland, where she began singing at an early age. Involvement in the folk club scene led to an invitation from Celtic traditionalists De Danann...
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Wandering Home, Maura O'Connell
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