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COLCANNON 'Dolphin Bay' Greentrax CDTRAX263

The Australian band Colcannon has been around for over 15 years and this latest album displays the confidence and quality to be expected from such an established outfit.

The Julie Miller song Broken Things, that also features on Chris and Kellie While's album reviewed in this issue, grounds the album in mainstream roots music perhaps characterised in Britain by singers like Chris While herself, Julie Matthews and John Wright. The album features an expansive instrumental sound and good vocals. Although Kat Kraus is the main singer, the other four band members sing too as well as providing the distinctive backing centred on guitar, keys and Emma Luker's violin/cello. Nine of the 13 tracks are composed by one of three band members. Don Holdernesse's Fields is on a simple but evocative theme of thinking of home while away travelling. Pete Titchener's Grey Owl manages to capture a North American feel appropriate to its subject. The album's highlight though is John Munro's outstanding 'Dolphin Bay', which is powerfully sung with striking and uplifting piano accompaniment. A Miner's Life is a successful arrangement of a traditional song featuring exciting interplay among the instruments in what is a very lively number.

Perhaps some of the concluding songs are weaker than the more accomplished earlier ones. For example, the concluding vocal only arrangement of Sting's We Work the Black Seam does not sit particularly well with the rest. However, it is an album well worth listening to especially for the Dolphin Bay title song itself.

Andy Jurgis

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.