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Album Review

Mick McAuley and Winifred Horan are two members of Solas, striking out on the side with this duet album. Well, it has their names on it, but Donal Clancy adds plenty of accompaniment on guitar, bouzouki, and mandolin, with Chico Huff on acoustic bass for most of the tracks, and Paul Gurney playing electric bass on one track. They start out quite traditionally with a set of fiery reels that highlights their playing, both as a duo and individually. But although they keep a strong grounding in Irish music, it's just a springboard to their breadth. "The Joyous Waltz" takes Irish music into the sidewalk cafes of Paris, while their gentle version of "After the Gold Rush" soothes. They can play superbly, and the backing is unobtrusive and sympathetic. If there's one drawback to the disc, it's that Horan's overdubbed fiddles sometimes become almost orchestral, rubbing away the raw edge that's part of the fun in the music, and distracts from the earthy pleasures of the record. But that's minor; there's plenty to delight here in the fire of the musicianship and the deep joy and empathy between the players.


Born: Ireland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Virtuoso instrumentalists are a dime a dozen in the industry, but some transcend talent with vision. Irish accordionist, whistle player, and singer/songwriter Mick McAuley grew up in Calan, Kilkenny. At the age of nine he procured a button accordion that incited a love affair with traditional music and the eventual mastery of anything with keys. Over the years he's performed and recorded with Ron Kavana, Karan Casey, and Niamh Parsons, and is a full-time member of the award-winning Celtic group Solas....
Full Bio
Serenade, Mick McAuley
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