Home New music in our mailbox! Album review: Miscellany of Folk – Atlantic Sounds

Album review: Miscellany of Folk – Atlantic Sounds

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Gordy the moose reviews some of his favourite new submissions to the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox.

This lovely trans-Atlantic collaboration brings together Newfoundland multi-instrumentalist Billy Sutton – who’s toured and recorded with the Irish Descendants, Ron Hynes and the Ennis Sisters, among others – with Irish singer Eddie Costello and Irish button accordion virtuoso Benny McCarthy of Danu for a collection of songs and tunes from both sides of the ocean.

Having just named the players involved, it seems almost redundant to rave about the quality of the musicianship and the performance. At times jaunty, at times heart-rending, it is both technically flawless and emotionally affecting, marked by stirring three-part harmonies, lightning-fast precision accordion work, dancing flutes, and sweet, old-timey fiddle licks – though not all at once!

Of particular note is the thoughtful selection of repertoire. On the tunes side of things, the highlights include Ireland’s “Stone of Destiny” reel – played here with such speed that in lesser hands it might sound like showing off – and the suite of Newfoundland numbers “Harry Eveleigh’s / Advance / Mrs. Belle’s #7.” On the song front, “Deckhand on a Trawler” is the work of Irish singer-songwriter and working fisher Martyn Travis, while “When the Moon is Full” is by the great Irish songwriter Robbie O’Connell. And then we have Newfoundlander Jim Payne’s gorgeous “Waltz Around the Cape,” made famous by Jim and Fergus O’Byrne.

The Irish content definitely seems to dominate this project, both in terms of repertoire and in terms of the players. But you wouldn’t know that unless you knew all the songs and tunes. It’s a testament to the musical relationship between the rock and Paddy’s green shamrock shores, and a testament to this exceptional trio of musicians, who have not only arranged this repertoire into a truly cohesive package but have elevated it in the process.

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