It's awful damned hard to turn away from a trio that centers in Irish pipes and whistles, and Sliotar has kept to that configuration in this, their fifth, release, Fine Friends. They've dialed back the cannonball hurtle a bit after the last outing (here) in order to stay a tad more true to elder airs, but don't expect some incense shop New Agey gala of leprechauns in saccharine clouds cavorting with hobbits, as there's solid but refined muscle to this new affair, fanciful as it sometimes gets: All Around Lough / Paddy Clancy's Dream / Seamus Donnell's, f'rinstance, is a lilting medley of enchanting circular trad tunes set into an upbeat framework of light feet and flouncing skirts.
In fact, the CD's range extends from a capella solo shouters (May Morning Dew) to jazzily backgrounded reels (Take It as It Is) to very folky barsongs and, as I mentioned, a much more generous nod to the grizzled troubadours and minstrels of the Green Isle's bygone days. Most of the cuts are written by the lads, but it's going to be hard to tell that without a scorecard, as the meld has been so harmonious as to erase time's normal boundaries. One cut, however, Tilly Anne / Rays Heel, is extremely loquacious in a slow but sharp evocation of evening pathways by the sea—at least for the first half, that is, then someone pulls the whiskey bottle out, lights a fire, and things get jumpin'. Nail down the furniture for that second segment, 'cause you'll be up an' dancin' with Darby and Siobhan, and ya don't wanna be knocking over the chairs and table just for the lark of it. T'ain't proper at all…but it sure is fun!
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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