Link to Living Tradition Homepage





ÁLYTH - Homelands

ÁLYTH - Homelands

Though born and raised on the Isle Of Lewis, singer Ályth McCormack is now happily settled in Ireland, although much of the past decade has been spent touring outside of Ireland in the company of folks like The Chieftains (she has been their featured vocalist since 2007) and in a duo with harpist Triona Marshall. Homelands is only her third solo album (An Iomall was released by Vertical in 2000 and People Like Me on Reveal in 2009), so a fairly lengthy intervening wait was perhaps inevitable. Homelands returns Ályth to the more traditional repertoire, in the company of a slightly different complement of musicians than hitherto: long-time collaborator Brian Mcalpine remains (on piano, guitars and accordion), as does Aidan O’Rourke (on fiddle), and these two bring a lyrical turn of phrase to sensitively accompany Ályth’s trademark vibrato. The roster is completed by Karol Lynch (bouzouki), Joe Csibi (double bass) and Noel Eccles (percussion).

One lively, expertly-paced mouth-music track (The American Set) aside, the overall demeanour of Homelands is reflective and often wistful, couched in love, loss and longing. It also incidentally both portrays and celebrates the simultaneous pull of twin geographical poles representing Ályth’s love of her original home on the Isle Of Lewis and of Co. Wexford which she now calls home. There can be no denying Ályth’s deep emotional response to her chosen material, although the album’s very consistency of mood and musical setting may appear to automatically recommend that the individual tracks are best listened to in isolation rather than as a continuous sequence. Having said that, the overall sequence still satisfies, so the above remark need not be thought a drawback to the intending purchaser of this well-considered disc. Ályth’s personal takes on the staples Carrickfergus and Raglan Road might be considered an acquired taste, but at least they’re individual and personally wrought. And since you can say much the same about all of Ályth’s song interpretations, there can be no cause for complaint with this CD.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 109 of The Living Tradition magazine.