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Honk Toot Suite

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Album Review

On this utterly charming album Eamonn Coyne and Kris Drever trade off on several instruments, though Drever focuses primarily on six-string guitar and Coyne on plectrum banjo; at various times, though, Coyne switches to mandolin or tenor guitar while Drever contributes double bass. There are some very fine guest musicians on the album as well, but the unusual duo format of banjo and guitar is really the core of the program. Coyne has a very winning style, skillful but not at all ostentatious, with a tasteful minimum of ornamentation and a primary focus on the tunes themselves. And the tunes are drawn from a lovely mixture of traditional Irish, Breton, Scottish and music hall sources, sometimes mixed all together in a single set — such as the gorgeous "Peninsula Set," which features the Scots reel "Ger the Rigger" followed by the Breton tune "An Dró" and a modern Irish composition by Simon Bradley titled "Peninsula Man." Not only is the playing of the highest quality, but Kris Drever's singing is also very attractive — although he sings in a clear tenor voice, he avoids the thin, nasal sound favored by so many of his compatriots, and instead delivers such fine songs as "Viking's Bride" and the mournful "Walking in the Dew" in a plain and non-dramatic voice that keeps the focus on the songs rather than on his own soulfulness. The result is an unusually enjoyable and satisfying album of modern traditional Irish music. Highly recommended.


Born: 1978 in Orkney, Scotland

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Tall and slightly ungainly with a seemingly laid-back approach to both music and life, Kris Drever seemed an unlikely figure to be acclaimed in 2007 as one of the front-line new young heroes of Brit folk. Yet his gently relaxed singing, dexterous guitar accompaniments, and subtly inventive arrangements not only made an immediate impression on his peers, they struck a chord with a new young audience searching for music of roots, substance, and identity. Yet, despite being the son of Ivan Drever (singer...
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Honk Toot Suite, Kris Drever
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