DANNY DIAMOND & BRIAN MILLER - Let Fly
From a very musical family - actually from two musical families - Danny Diamond grew up among the traditional musicians of Dublin, Donegal and Belfast, following his father on the fiddle and developing his own traditional style from archive recordings and old masters. After a couple of true solo albums, he's teamed up with guitar and bouzouki accompanist Brian Miller from Minnesota, Danny's current home. The fiddle leads every track, and the accompaniment stays discreetly in the background, adding to the music in subtle ways but only rarely drawing attention to itself.
Reels and jigs, Donegal highlands and mazurkas, and the occasional slow piece provide plenty of variety. The Donegal repertoire stretches to include a number of Scottish classics as is often the case: Miss Shepherd, The Fairy Dance, and even the Cape Breton reel, Just Cruisin', by the late great Jerry Holland. Other pieces are more central to the Irish repertoire, but given Diamond's unique twist: An Buachaillín Dreoite, Down The Back Lane, The Widow's Daughter, Seán Buí, Repeal The Union and the ever popular jig, Pull The Knife And Stick It Again.
There's a liveliness and spirit in this music which comes from long familiarity but also from playing in sessions with a wide selection of styles and ages, and also I suspect from playing for dancers - Danny's wife, Anna Lethert, is a fine dancer and is no doubt accustomed to great lift in the music. Every piece here is dance music, and invites you to dance, except perhaps the old Irish air, Down The Hill, which is more for listening with its complex rhythms and uneven measures. Whether you tap your toes, get to your feet, or simply listen with a smile, Let Fly will raise your spirits: it can hold its head up alongside any other Irish fiddle album.
This review appeared in Issue 139 of The Living Tradition magazine