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BROCK MCGUIRE BAND - Green Grass Blue Grass

BROCK MCGUIRE BAND - Green Grass Blue Grass
Paulman Music  PMCD001

This recording is a unique collaboration between the Brock McGuire band from Ireland and some of America’s finest traditional musicians (Ricky Skaggs, Aubrey Haynie, Bryan Sutton, Jeff Taylor and Mark Fain).  With nine musicians of this calibre, each at the top of their respective game, you would expect some mighty music, and that is exactly what you get here.

Green Grass Blue Grass is a celebration of the commonality between traditional Irish music and the old-time and bluegrass traditional music of America.  Various tunes and styles have been adopted and adapted as a result of the melding of cultures following the emigration of the “Scotch-Irish” to the American colonies.  And here the boys show just how well the two go hand in hand.

Paul Brock and Manus McGuire are no strangers to lovers of Irish traditional music, being founder members of Moving Cloud, and Manus also playing with Buttons And Bows.  Along with Enda Scahill and Denis Carey their band produces some top-quality music.  The sound is very traditional, kind of “old-style”- lovely and straight, but with incredible bounce and swing.  This is a winning formula already, and then you add the Americans, who bring it to a whole other level.

The CD opens with the Moving Cloud, a familiar reel, which sets the scene for the album well.  It is played in the traditional Irish style, but uses the bluegrass pattern of each instrument taking the lead for a go round the tune.  The two genres meld together perfectly, and this continues throughout the album, sometimes with the bluegrass boys complimenting an Irish tune, and other times with the Irish boys joining in with a traditional American tune.

Because It’s There is a Mark Simos tune from Boston.  It has a real easy, laid back, old-time feel.  This is followed seamlessly by The Coalminer, an Irish reel associated with the Flanagan brothers from Co Waterford, who also had a thriving career across the Atlantic.  This set perfectly illustrates the spirit of this album, with the different styles influencing and infusing each other.

This is an excellent release which will appeal to traditional Irish music lovers, and bluegrass lovers alike.  They have created a well balanced fusion here, without diluting the purity of the music, rather by embracing what is common between them.  A winner!

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 90 of The Living Tradition magazine.