Released a few weeks back, this set marks a welcome return from one of the great musicians of the Irish folk scene. Andy Irvine has played with a variety of bands but is best known for his role working alongside Christy Moore, Donal Lunny and Liam O'Flynn in the now-legendary Planxty, who were still in remarkable form at their reunion shows five years ago. Moore makes no appearance here, but there are still echoes of Planxty: the album was produced by Lunny, who also adds guitar or bouzouki on almost every track, while the first two songs feature O'Flynn's exquisite uilleann pipe-playing. This is Irvine's first solo album in more than a decade, recorded in Dublin, Norway, Australia, Hungary and Brittany. It's a finely crafted, varied work, with his intimate, carefully articulated vocals matched against his own mandola, bouzouki and harmonica playing, along with accordion, fiddle and occasional strings. The songs include new settings for traditional ballads such as The Demon Lover, and new work from Irvine himself, including The Spirit of Mother Jones, a tribute to the Irish-born American activist Mary Harris, who died in 1930. The humorous songs include Oslo, a witty tale of travelling and drinking that segues, Planxty-style, into the traditional Norwegian Mazurka. It's available from andyirvine.com.
Andy Irvine: Abocurragh – review | Music | The Guardian
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