Rumor had it that O'Connor, known for his technical wizardry and innovative style, had made a conscious return to a more traditional approach to the music. While it is true that the choice of material and the arrangements on this new CD confirm the rumor to some degree, O'Connor continues to coax 5-string-banjo textures from his 4-string instrument--one track, "Billy in the Lowground," actually sounds like it could have been recorded by a genuine Bluegrass band--and to fire away the crispest triplets in the business. If you are a fan of his style of playing, you will likely love this album. For my part, while being duly impressed with O'Connor's technical abilities, I tend to find his playing rather predictable and gimmicky overall, rather than musically engaging. Still, the man does have chops, and his "Colonel Frazer," played in high tuning and at a pace less frantic than many musicians tend to adopt for it, is one of the tracks that stand out.
Rating: *** 1/2
1. Reels: Bag of Spuds / Copper Plate
2. Jigs: Tom Billy's
3. Air: Uir Chnoic Cein Mhic Cainte
4. Billy in the Lowground / The Temperance Reel
5. Hornpipes: Thomond Bridge / Cuckoo's First Call