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Down The Line
Compass Records 4407

One of the potential drawbacks of being part of a 'supergroup' is that you become forever associated with that group. By way of compensation for that, you know that you must be some player yourself, or your group would never have had the s-word added to it in the first place. Therefore, by knowing that Ciaran is one of the driving fiddlers of Altan, and no mean whistle player as well, you just know that anything he plays will be outstandingly fine.

This is marketed as his first solo album, but if you think it's going to be a fiddle-and-whistle showcase by the man, just hold on a bit. Another advantage of the s-group status is that you tend to have a lot of friends who are in the same league, so Ciaran has taken full advantage of this, so we have the likes of, amongst others, Paul Brady, Tim O'Brien, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas and Maura O'Connell on different tracks. That Ciaran can adapt his style of playing to suit such a variety of styles in itself speaks volumes for his ability.

Of course, it is not simply an album of his accompanist skills, as there are fine examples of solo or lead performance as well. The only problem with the CD is that it's all over within forty minutes, but that's easily compensated for, as you'll just want to listen to it all over again. An album to be proud of.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 66 of The Living Tradition magazine.