Celtic beer bar music from a seven-person ensemble that obviously loves what it does. The recording is mid-fi but issues from a studio so that it has a good deal more the ambiance of a saloon gig on a lusty Saturday night. Equal parts of fun and serious music-making predominate, as in The Story of You, where Pladdohg gets several melodies winding around each other all at once. Particularly alluring are Robin DeMartini's meadowlark winds, dancing through the air above the group, as agile as any jazz player you'd care to name (Dave Valentin, Charles Lloyd, etc.), verging on Paul McCandless virtuosity.
When the electric guitar dives in, as in Donald MacGillavray, a strong echo of Tempest (the Celt rockers on the Magna Carta label, not Alan Holdsworth's old fusion outfit) pervades, here bolting the ground down as DeMartini prances hither and yon through sky and cloud. The vocals are almost everywhere bouncy and happy, or even sardonic, especially in the voice of Erin Bloom, whose élan is effervescent and infectious. The rest of the band gets room for solos but is basically a very sophisticated rhythm section, emphasis on the often hi-charged compositions rather than vaulting up the individual prowesses…which are more than present, trust me.
Pladdohg is the kind of band you'd go out of your way to see, ordering a succession of pints, settling in for the evening for a well deserved revel and reel. A California group, they sound straight from modern Dublin, and I can easily see them sharing stages with such exemplary bands as Bad Haggis (are those baddest actors even together anymore?), said headliner being nervous as hell about being upstaged while kicking up their heels to the septet's irresistable musicianship.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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