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COLLEEN RANEY - Here This Is Home

COLLEEN RANEY - Here This Is Home
Little Sea Records CR004

From Portland, Oregon, and part of the celebrated Raney family, Colleen has been steeped in the traditional songs of Ireland and Scotland. On this CD she sings several of them, most of which are very well known, along with two or three newer songs.

Her voice is rich and warm, beautifully feminine, strong and well controlled. Her natural North American accent is to the fore and she confidently makes full use of the subtleties of emotion her vocal palate provides.

The traditional songs are strongest here. Canadee-i-o is a brave choice given that Nic Jones has arguably already done the definitive version, but this is a good rendition and one which grows with listening. The Boys Of Mullaghbawn is lovely. And the CD ends with a slightly swingy but nicely paced version of Craigie Hill.

I have a few reservations though. Colleen has a slight Scottish accent when singing Lassie Wi’ The Yellow Coatie, which is perhaps necessary to make the Scots words sound right, but it jars with her dominant American accent and distracts the listener somewhat. The Cruel Brother just sounds a little too happy for me. And though the newer songs are nice enough and sung beautifully, they don’t always fit with the feel of the traditional ones – Sanctuary is a beautiful song, but doesn’t sound quite right here.

The musical arrangements throughout are extremely pleasing, with Johnny B Connolly’s button accordion and Aidan Brennan on guitar particularly standing out as subtle and effective accompanists.

Despite a few (minor) misgivings, this album makes for a very pleasant listening experience and it is nice to see a new generation of singers taking these well known songs and making them their own.

Michael White

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This album was reviewed in Issue 101 of The Living Tradition magazine.