Fergus Scahill: fiddle, guitar, bodhran
Ryan Molloy: piano
Conal Early: guitar
Paul Moran: dancing

From Corofin, Co. Galway, Fergal Scahill is a talented multi-instrumentalist who has won All-Ireland titles on fiddle as well as bodhran, and is a skilled accompanist on guitar as well. He toured for a while and recorded with the Brock-McGuire band, which  included his brother Enda on banjo alongside accordionist Paul Brock and fiddle player Manus McGuire, and recorded an excellent duet album, "A Flying Start," with the wonderful harmonica player and lilter Paul Moran, who contributes a few steps here. But Scahill's fiddle playing is the focus of this solo CD, and what fiddle playing it is.. I would go so far as to say that it reminds me of the best playing by another Galwayman, Frankie Gavin, back in the days of "Frankie Goes to Town"--in fact, Scahill plays a Gavin "cover" of sorts by including "the Mystery Reel" on the very first track, and again with "Dowd's No. 9" a little later, although by no means does he copy Gavin. There's technique galore, impeccable timing, breathtaking precision in the most fiendishly difficult passages, but most of all there is that same great drive we used to hear coming from Gavin's bow, and that indescribable flair for variations that always sound like the perfect musical choice, yet so simple at times one wonders "how come I didn't think of that?" There is a nice balance between well-known traditional tunes and less common ones, including compositions by Josephine Keegan, Mairtin O'Connor, and Scahill himself. Scahill's main accompanist is Co. Tyrone pianist Ryan Molloy, whose trademark syncopated style can also be heard on Paul Brock and Enda Scahill's "Humdinger," Paul McGlinchey's "Unearthed," and other recent recordings. To my ear, his pervasive syncopations have sounded a bit distracting at times, but here the two musicians seem to have found solid common ground rhythmically. After much fast-paced, exciting music, the album comes to a contemplative close with a beautifully played version of the air "Port na bPucai." Well done.

Rating: ****

Price: $19.99
Our Catalogue 
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1. Reels: The Blacksmith's Fancy / The Mystery Reel
2. Jigs: The Gold Ring / The  Maid at the Spinning Wheel
3. Reels: Gan Ainm / Patsy Touhey's / The Lads of Laois
4. Hornpipe & Barndance: The Banks / Ladies' Choice
5. Reels: The Square of Crossmaglen / The League / President Garfield
6. Reel: Jenny's Welcome to Charlie
7. Jigs: The Hag at the Churn / Old John's Jig / The Geese in the Bog / The Legacy Jig
8. Reels: Dowd's No. 9 / The Humours of Ballyconnell / The Boys of the Lough
9. Hornpipe & Reel: The Fairy Queen / The Celebration Reel
10. Jigs: Ryan's Favourite / The Boys of the Town / The Dusty Bridge
11. Reels: Rolling in the Hay / The Ladies' Pantalettes
12. Hornpipes: Callanan's Retreat / The Long Lane
13. Reels: Spike Island Lassies / Paddy Fahey's 
14. Air: Port na bPucai
See also:
      Paul Moran & Fergal Scahill: A Flying Start