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Private Label 0026144074

Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, Andrew Finn Magill is something of a prodigious talent. He is involved in several bands, playing everything from Cuban music to jazz and back, including a funded concept album about AIDS with Afro-vibes artist from Malawi, Peter Mawanga, and other projects.

In 2016 he launched a two-part concept album - Roots and Branches - which chart his musical progression in Irish music. Roots has been praiseworthily commented on already for its exemplary compilation of old tunes and recent compositions.

Branches features Paul McKenna and Seán Gray (of The Paul McKenna Band), Grant Gordy (The David Grisman Quintet), Duncan Wickel (The Rondo Rigs), David Brown (Rising Appalachia) and more. While there are various guests, the bulk of the record is solo fiddling or couple performances on which a guitar accompaniment is most prominent. While the tunes feature a Celtic reference point - either that of Scottish fiddling in its rich texture or Sliabh Luachra style playing in its wild abandon - there are also strong shades of Bluegrass and jazz, and there are semi-classical idioms present. David Brown’s baritone guitar adds subtlety to Horizons and Relapse, while Farewell To Vass mixes Irish jig forms of various paces. Scottish styles pertain on Hilda Harlow and Mary And Alice sounds straight out of Dennis Murphy’s tune book. Branches is full of intriguingly good tunes from a deep and complex well of styles and idioms, closely assimilated and fused through the creative process to make an album of unique and personalised music.

John O’Regan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 117 of The Living Tradition magazine.