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JANE CASSIDY - Silverbridge

JANE CASSIDY - Silverbridge
Ashgrove Music ASH006

County Down native Jane Cassidy has had a chequered career from music to broadcasting and production and back again. In the 70s, she and her brother Frank carved out a name for themselves and since going solo at the cusp of the 80s, Jane recorded two albums (Waves Of Time and The Empty Road) that exemplified a composite mix of traditional song and her own contemporary material. Waves Of Time has since become an ‘acid folk’ classic and her absence from recording coincided with a move to broadcasting and family life.

Now, apart from a collaborative album with her husband Maurice Leyden celebrating the story of Mary Ann McCracken in 1998 and some 31 years after The Empty Road, comes Silverbridge, her third solo album, and its sudden surprising appearance in late 2016 after a long absence from recording made its arrival one of the ‘Holy Grail’ moments.

Silverbridge follows the template of mixing traditional and original songs, with some previously featured musicians including Maurice Leyden, Joe McHugh, Nollaig Casey, Barry Carroll and Frank Cassidy. The backings are sparse and spacious, allowing the songs and vocal performances to breathe easily while adding suitably florid window dressing. Her voice remains bewitchingly haunting and beautiful, as before, and her performances of epic ballads like Fair Annie, Gathering Rushes and Bird In A Cage display skill and power. Subtlety of approach is the key to this gently compelling and haunting album; its powerful understatement highlighting Jane’s many talents, and marks a wonderful comeback.

John O’Regan

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