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Celtibillies - Greenwoodside



Zygoat Records 1002

The CD is available through the Celtibillies web site

A review written for Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jim Zimmerschied

From the name of this group one would expect a mixture of bluegrass and Celtic music. Like a mixture of oil and water, the two musical modes don't easily combine. Some bluegrass tunes have a Celtic origin but most bluegrass songs are closer to American country music than Irish or Scottish. There is an element of Appalachian music in certain bluegrass music and this is where the Celtibillies draw from for some of the tunes on this CD.

The Celtibillies are a Contra dance band that can put out good vocals as well as lively instrumentals. If you don't know what Contra dancing is, picture lines of dancers swinging and moving to a caller like square dancers do but the music is largely Irish/Scottish fiddle tunes and the dancers progress as couples up and down the lines.

Greenwoodside has a number of pure instrumentals - lively, toe tapping, with a Celtic origin or flavor like the music used for Contra dancing. The band plays well together and each musician is a master of his/her instrument. Then there is an assortment of ballads such as might be heard in a pub. The singing is great and the tunes entertaining. To round off the mix, there are tunes like Monroe's Mississippi Waltz and the traditional Down in the Willow Garden. A total of 15 tracks with several medleys makes for a satisfying listening experience.

My favorite is the medley Abbey Reel, Nigel Reel and Howling Wind. Howling Wind does remind me of wind that picks up its pace and ends up in a howl. Rocky Road to Dublin is a rousing tavern song. The Celtibillies (Becky Barlow, Jack Hinshelwood, Tom Sauls, and Patrick Turner) play a variety of instruments: fiddle, hammered dulcimer, banjo, guitar and various rhythm instruments as well as blending their voices in satisfying harmony.

Play list:

  • Medley: Abbey Reel/ Nigel's Reel/ Howling Wind
  • Straddle the Rut
  • Medley: Rocky Road to Dublin/Cronin's Favorite/Greenwoodside
  • The Bonnie Green Tree
  • Medley: Four Polkas
  • Cool of the Day
  • Coleraine
  • Mississippi Waltz
  • Medley: Cold & Raw/Pinch of Snuff/Eugene's Reel
  • Ducks in the Pond
  • Down in the Willow Garden
  • Medley: Family Set
  • Cruel Willie
  • Medley: Crested Hens/Little Fair Child/Pipe on the Hob/Growling Old Man, Growling Old Woman
  • Lark in Morning

So sit back and spin Greenwoodside but don't be surprised if your feet come alive to the Contra dance beat put out by the Celtibillies.

Edited by David N. Pyles

Copyright 2003, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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