Gordy the Moose is back! Watch for a regular pick from his Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox.
Inn Echo – Hemispheres (Release date: Sept. 29, 2023)
Inn Echo is that rare East Coast Celtic band composed entirely of come-from-aways — if you’ll forgive me for borrowing a Newfoundland expression to describe a trio of Prince Edward Islanders.
Fiddler Karson McKeown grew up in Ottawa surrounded by the Ottawa Valley music tradition. Fiddler and cellist Tuli Porcher is from Victoria, B.C., and guitarist Tom Gammons was raised in Butte, MT while making yearly trips to southeast Saskatchewan.
That might explain how they still manage to sound fresh in a part of the world where talented Celtic musicians are so abundant you’ll trip over one if you don’t look where you’re going.
What they all have in common is studies at PEI’s Holland College School of Performing Arts.
They released their self-titled debut album in 2019, played some choice gigs at the Calgary, Edmonton and Stan Rogers Folk Festivals, and then — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — the pandemic hit.
Well, they’re finally back with their sophomore outing, and as a matter fact, yes it does sound about four years more evolved than the first one.
For one thing, Karson, Tuli and Tom are writing most of their own material now instead of leaning on big names like Liz Carroll and their fellow islander Jesse Periard of Ten Strings and a Goat Skin fame. And their original compositions are really quite lovely, seemlessly integrating elements of the traditional and the contemporary.
What’s more, they’ve put some real effort into the production here. It’s polished and a touch on the atmospheric side. It seems fitting that they recorded the album with Jake Charron and Donald Richard at Space Camp Productions because it has a kind of looking up at the stars sort of vibe in places.
The final two tracks were recorded live at the Woodford Folk Festival in Australia, and there’s a noticeable shift in energy from the nuanced studio work to the fast-paced wild abandon of a live performance. It’s a hard energy to capture on record, and it’s a fun way to close off the collection — to say nothing of the fact that it really shows off the trio’s formidable chops.
I can’t wait to hear what these guys sound like in another four years’ time.