PAUL O'SHAUGHNESSY & HARRY BRADLEY: BORN FOR SPORT
Paul O'Shaughnessy: fiddle, flute
Harry Bradley: flute
John Blake: bouzouki
Looking (respectively) respectably urban and slightly rakish on the cover photo of their latest album, Paul O'Shaughnessy and Harry Bradley, two of the best musicians on today's Irish traditional scene, offer us a terrific new collection of solos and duets. And we wouldn't expect any less from these two. O'Shaughnessy is well-known as a former member of Altan and Beginish, and a formidable fiddle player in the Donegal style, while Bradley's strong flute playing has been featured on several solo albums, as well as the superb "Tap Room Trio" CD. O'Shaughnessy's fiddle playing is as strong and driving as ever--so much so that Bradley almost seems to be taking a back seat at times. That drive suddenly reminded me why Altan sounded so good back in the "Horse with a Heart" days. Those who have heard "The North Wind" are aware that O'Shaughnessy is an accomplished flute player as well. He gives more evidence of that talent here, switching to the flute for two energetic duets with Bradley. The two musicians have come up with a diverse and intriguing selection of material, exploring alternate settings and regional styles. Donegal is well represented of course, but also Kerry and Sligo. John Blake joins in only on a few tracks with his sparse but always spot-on accompaniments. This is spirited, vital music.