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CATHY JORDAN - All The Way Home

CATHY JORDAN - All The Way Home
Blix Street Records  G210201

When listening to renowned Irish group Dervish, I’ve often mused on the pleasing prospect of compiling all those tracks featuring the dulcet delights of Cathy Jordan’s voice. Yet, this debut solo album is far from being simply a recognisable offshoot from her long experience with the band.

Instead, it’s a very personal project inspired by the ‘singing sessions and songs’, her close family’s ballad repertoire in particular, that formed her childhood soundtrack and provides a fundamental and enduring connection with her heart and home. This material, refreshingly re-interpreted, comes with two new co-written songs documenting her younger wanderlust and, as culminant and title track, older wiser nostalgic recognition of the essential value of home. There is also a pleasing setting to music of excerpts from Patrick Devine’s poem In Curraghroe and, for dynamic variation, two tunes.

Producer and arranger Roger Tallroth (well known for his association with Väsen) deserves great credit.  Cathy’s voice, with its charming Irish idioms and characterful modulation, is always central and clear. Ample space is provided for her expression by an ambience that is graceful, soft and gentle; above all, and entirely appropriate to her theme, warm, tender and intimate.

Several celebrated artists contribute to the polished and discreetly judged support including Gustaf Ljunggren (lap steel, banjo and piano), Michael McGoldrick (uillean pipes), Rick Epping (concertina and harmonica), Seamie O’Dowd (fiddle), Dervish’s Liam Kelly (flute) and Eddi Reader (who duets on Eileen McMahon). Particularly noteworthy are Tallroth’s own delicate guitar playing and the bass work, bowing especially, which adds some enriching texture and depth.

Kevin T. Ward

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.