Edel Fox: concertina
Ronan O'Flaherty: fiddle
Michael McCague: bouzouki, guitar
Brian McGrath: keyboards

This is another recording which I came across while in the Catskills this summer and which I listened to repeatedly during the week when driving around--and there's quite a bit of driving around to do up there. From the first few notes, this album crackles with energy and imagination. It also might sound very familiar. Because the two lead musicians play concertina and fiddle, a comparison with Noel Hill and Tonny Linnane's wonderful 1979 duet recording is perhaps unavoidable. But there's more to it, this one actually sounds like its classic predecessor. Could it be because Edel Fox, named Young Musician of the Year by TG4 in 2004, is a former pupil of Noel Hill? Or because McCague, their able accompanist on bouzouki, is a fan of Alec Finn, who backed Hill and Linnane on their famous LP? Probably all of it, and more. This is not slavish imitation, however. Most of all, the resemblance comes from the beautiful way in which the two young musicians find a common groove, and yet can still have their individual voices be heard. Similarly, many of the tunes recorded here, although mostly gems, are pretty well known, and the album could well have sounded like a collection of all the current favorites. But such is the musicianship of the two players that you'll find yourself listening to every little turn of phrase. For their debut recording, Fox and O'Flaherty sure set the bar pretty high, and I can't wait to hear what they'll come up with next. (11/2006)

Rating: ****

Price: $19.99
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1. Reels: Martin Wynne's / Tie the Bonnet / Anderson's
2. Jig: The Maid on the Green / The Lost and Found Jig / The Lark in the Morning
3. Reels: The Bag of Spuds / Lucy Campbell's / Lillies in the Field
4. Hop Jig & Reel: Boys of Ballysodare / The Bird in the Bush
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6. Reels: The Chicago Reel / George White's
7. Slides: An Coileach ag Fogairt an Lae / Patsy Geary's
8. Jig & Reel: The Connacht Man's Rambles / The Sligo Maid
9. Jig & Reels: Gan Ainm / The Man of the House / The Morning Dew
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11. Strathspey: The Iron Man
12. Slip Jigs: Na Ceannabhain Bana / The Whinny Hills of Leitrim
13. Reels: The Fisherman's Lilt / The Musical Priest