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Music from the Atlantic Fringe

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Album Review

Siglo, Ireland, seems an unlikely home for a trio that plays American roots music, but as everyone knows, the music of Ireland and Scotland is the backbone of a lot of mountain music from bluegrass to the droning Appalachian laments of Jean Ritchie and Dock Boggs. The Unwanted — Cathy Jordan and Séamus O'Dowd, both formerly of Dervish, and American pal Rick Epping — are all avid song collectors and folklorists as well as performers, and are familiar with the ways music from Ireland and America has crisscrossed the Atlantic, transforming itself from jig and reels to cowboy songs and blues. Like all folk musicians, they continue to reshape and transform the songs themselves. "The Morning Blues," a ragtime tune popularized by the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, gets a jaunty treatment with O'Dowd's slide guitar shooting off sparks and Epping singing an insouciant lead. "Angelina Baker" combines a traditional tune with a melody by Stephen Foster, to tell the tale of a poor boy driven mad by love. O'Dowd's fiddle, Epping's banjo, and Jordan's bodhrán lend the tune a Celtic flavor. "Sadly Grows the Rose" sounds ancient, but was written by Nashville songwriter Sharon Vaughn. Jordan's fragile vocal gives the song a suitably hopeless feel. "Sweet Becky at the Loom," another song of hopeless love, dates from the American Civil War, with a melancholy tune that echoes the green hills of Ireland. Jordan sings it with a perfect air of hopeless desperation. The Rolling Stones' "No Expectations" is performed with the trio's aching three-part harmonies complementing O'Dowd's sparse, slithering Dobro work, while "It's Cool to Be Green" shows their lighthearted side, with an ironic ragtime take on ecological disaster. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Music from the Atlantic Fringe, The Unwanted
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  • £7.99
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: 03 November 2009

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