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Glenshee Music GSR005

Fil Campbell’s seventh album gives equal billing to her percussionist husband, Tom McFarland, who tours with her and also operates Ballyneddan Studio, where these tracks were recorded.

Eleven tracks provide a cross-sectional view of the current live set of this popular couple. There’s a bright take on David Francey’s Come Rain Or Come Shine and a fab version of the rarely heard Steve Ashley song, Best Wishes. A host of supporting musicians fill out the sound nicely, including James Blennerhassett on exquisite bass, and notably Danny McGreevy on uilleann pipes. A Wish For Emily, a Fil co-write with Enda Patrick Cullen, is an emigrant song clearly written from the heart, and is inspiring at first listen – and now on repeat on my player. The version of the Kieran Goss and Kimmie Rhodes song, Make The Morning Shine, certainly does it justice also. The highlight for me, though, is another co-write (Campbell with Tom McFarland on this occasion), The White Beach, which closes the album – a nostalgic nod at a childhood well served, now jeopardised by a landlord bent on refusing access to a beach. This could bring a tear to a potato’s eye.

All things considered, this is a well packaged, nicely produced album of contemporary Irish music, and proves that Fil Campbell is still delivering competent and captivating songs.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.