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Maura O'Connell - Naked With Friends

Naked With Friends

Maura O'Connell

Sugar Hill Records - SUG CD 4018

Available from Maura O'Connell's online store.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Maura O'Connell has a voice that contains a latent power that is simply waiting for her to unleash it; a voice that is resonant with emotion that simply needs a song to be set free. This Irish born singer, who now calls Nashville, Tennessee home, is equally at ease singing in English or Gaelic and demonstrates both on this disc. The title comes from the lack of any instruments on this disc other than the voice, and she is accompanied by a variety of friends who singing a capella on this disc. It is a far reaching group of musical friends, from Dolly Parton, Jerry Douglas (yes, he of Dobro renown), and Alison Krauss to name a few from the American side of the ocean; and Liam Bradley, Declan O'Rourke, and O'Connell's sister, Aine Derrane, from the more eastern shores of the ocean, Ireland.

Because the selection of songs on a disc like this is so important a great deal of attention to the songs must be paid. There has to be a strong and true story line, and on most of the disc that was sung in English there are good story lines and the songs hold true; four or five of the thirteen songs are in Gaelic and that leaves those of us who don't speak the language wondering. A number of the songs are either traditional or public domain and they hold up well also. The duets or harmony vocals are sometimes surprisingly good, although that is to be expected with singers such as Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, and Aoife O'Donovan (Sometimes Why). The surprises come when she gets such good vocals from people not known for their singing but for their instrumental prowess such as Jerry Douglas and Darrell Scott. The main complaint is there isn't enough variety of tempo in the songs, otherwise a very strong showcase for her voice.

Track List:

  • The Bright Blue Rose
  • Mo Sheamuseen
  • Arrow
  • Some People's Lives
  • The Blacksmith
  • Ae Fond Kiss
  • Shipbuilding
  • Anach Cuain
  • I Know My Love
  • Weakness In Me
  • This Beggar's Heart
  • Maidin I mBearra
  • Hay Una Mujer Desapercida

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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