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Private Label 030530

If you’ve not yet heard of FourWinds, now’s the time to make their acquaintance. The band has just been awarded the Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections, and although the quartet has only been playing together under the FourWinds moniker since 2013, the individual members have already amassed an impressive tally of appearances on the professional stage in various solo, duo and group contexts.

FourWinds comprises bouzouki player and singer Daoiri Farrell, with Caroline Keane (concertina, whistles), Tom Delany (uilleann pipes, whistles) and Robbie Walsh (bodhrán, percussion, backing vocals), and what an exciting sound they make – I just love that clean, crisp blend of textures, recalling classic Planxty or Bothy Band for sure, that greets the ears on the disc’s opening track, a vibrant slide, hop jig and reel medley sourced largely from Limerick and Sligo. FourWinds carry on as they began for a further three-quarters of an hour, and on the way they intersperse a few songs amidst the jiggery-pipery shenanigans.

Daoiri turns in lively, powerful renditions of the Paul Metsers standard Farewell To The Gold, the much-requested (we’re told!) The Rollicking Boys Around Tandragee and Clasped To The Pig (learnt from Tommy McCarthy), and (with the help of guest musicians Joanna Hyde and Paddy Kiernan) Woody Guthrie’s account of The Ludlow Massacre. The sheer vitality of the playing on the instrumental selections too is quite miraculous, and the energy and conviction they exude is outstanding. Having said that, pick of the instrumental sets is probably the brace of tunes composed by Caroline herself, The Piper’s Patience and The Black Valley Reel (the latter sporting some especially delectable syncopations), although the medley involving two Johnny Doherty tunes is masterly in its control of speed and execution and all the various sets display a keen sense of instrumental blending among the musicians, a FourWinds trademark if ever there was one. Definitely a band to watch.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 110 of The Living Tradition magazine.