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THE LONG NOTES In The Shadow Of Stromboli

THE LONG NOTES In The Shadow Of Stromboli
Hobgoblin Records HOBCD1014

This is the second album from The Long Notes - Jamie Smith (fiddle), Colette O’Leary (piano accordion), Brian Kelly (banjo/mandolin) and Alex Percy (guitar/vocals).  The band formed some five years ago having played together regularly at sessions in Camden Town.  A cast of supporting musicians gives the album a very full sound with the addition of piano, bass, bodhran and electric guitar on selected tracks.

It kicks off at a rollicking pace with a set of three tunes - Beoga On Ice, Rockin The Boat and the Quebec Reel.  A fine opening set to showcase the bands individual and collective talents.   As with many of the instrumental tracks, this one bounces along with some sudden and unexpected tempo changes.

There are a number of original pieces included, and these fit very comfortably with the more traditional material, moving nicely between moods, with a good balance of fast tunes, slower pieces and songs – all played superbly.

Plains of Jars is a standout track even though it is a banjo solo with guitar accompaniment and not a band piece as such.  A blistering set of reels performed immaculately by Brian Kelly at eye-watering pace, full of fire and excitement and culminating in a two banjo harmonic showdown!
Guest singer Adam Holmes delivers a refreshingly new treatment of the classic Come By The Hills which is at once familiar yet very different.  Adam’s effortless delivery and the sympathetic accompaniment make this version a treat.

The inclusion of two Sean Og Graham tunes is perhaps a giveaway to one of their influences, as the many twists and turns in their sets are “Beoga-esque” in treatment.  It certainly makes for entertaining listening – expect the unexpected!  Well worth a listen.

Jim Byrne

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This album was reviewed in Issue 91 of The Living Tradition magazine.